Survivors of Japanese military sex slavery rang bells for peace and justice at Plaza Rajah Sulayman in Manila on Saturday morning.
Members of Lila Pilipina, an organization for Filipino comfort women, held signages as they expressed alarm over recent reports on the formation of a US-Japan-Philippines security agreement in light of intensifying military tensions between the US and China in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Kasi naaalarma kami. Hindi pa nga inaamin ng Japan ang kanyang mga naging kasalanan sa mga Filipino comfort women and other victims of war dito sa Pilipinas, nandito na namin sila nagpapadala ng kanilang mga fighter jets. Nagde-develop kasi ang Japan ng capacity for counter strike sa mga bansa that it perceives as a threat,” said Sharon Cabusao-Silva, executive director of Lila Pilipinas.
Silva added that they fear that “transfer of defense technology” might be used as a basis for stockpiling military arms in the country’s territory which can later also be used by the Philippine government to crush dissent and discontent in the country.
Former comfort woman Narcisa Claveria, 92 years old, recalled the cruelty and hardships she experienced during World War II at the hands of the Japanese military. As living witness and victim of war, she is deeply disturbed by the military deal.
“Pinagkukuha kami, dinala kami sa garrison nila. Pagdating namin doon, pinaglalaba kami, pinamamalantsa. Sa gabi, re-rape-in pa kami. Iba-ibang Hapon ang nangre-rape sa amin. Kaya ang sinapit ko noon, napakahirap. Sana kung magbabalak na may giyera ulit, sana pigilin na at kawawa naman ang mga kababaihan kasi dinadamay nila e,” Claveria said.
Teresita Ang-See, head convenor of Flowers for Lolas Campaign, is earnestly seeking justice for the “comfort women”.
“Ilan na lang ang survivors ng mga comfort women. Sana man lang bago man lang ipikit ang mata ng huling survivor, makakita man lang ng kaunting kalinga mula sa ating pamahalaan at pagkilala sa nangyari noong panahon ng digmaan,” Ang-See said.
The group reiterated its calls for Japan to correct the historical injustice it has committed against Filipino “comfort women” and to face up its responsibility over the wartime crimes it committed.