Laguna mayor says South Korean statue in warehouse
The mayor of a city in Laguna province said a one-meter tall statue which was to symbolize"peace and girls empowerment and friendship'' is in a private warehouse and will not be relocated to another venue after local officials removed in statue on December 28.
''I haven't explained formally to Jecheon city (in South Korea) about the removal but they will understand", said San Pedro City Mayor Lourdes Cataquiz In an interview with reporters Monday, ":We haven't decided if we will ship the statue back."
The statue of a girl seated on a chair with closed fists was unveiled at the home for the elderly on December 28. Jecheon City funded the construction of the statue, which is similar to the one put up by the South Korean government in Seoul to protest against Japan's treatment of women as sex slaves in World War II.
The inscription near the statue read: " Monument of peace and women empowerment."
On December 30, San Pedro city officials removed the statue. On the same day, the Japanese Embassy said this was "extremely disappointing" and added it will convey its position to the Philippine government.
In a text message to the Daily Manila Shimbun, city administrator Filemon Sibulo said: "Nobody from the Japanese Embassy or Malacanang Palace contacted us. It was the initiative of the mayor to remove (the statue) because we do not want any controversy and we treasure our good relations with the Japanese people."
Cataquiz said she did not know a statue resembling the one in San Pedro had been built as a symbol of protest by South Korea about the comfort women issue.
Cataquiz added that the Japanese government and the Philippine government "made closure for what happened in the ( Second World) war regarding the comfort women issue.
"We respect these organizations (who) still demand (the official apology and compensation) but the Japanese government and national government had a closure. That's why (the) Philippine government not demanding anything now. Let's move on," she said. DMS