Women's groups unite to seek justice for comfort women
By Robina Asido
Different women rights groups came together to coordinate the quest for justice and reparations for Filipino comfort women to the Philippine government.
In a forum attended by representatives from Malaya Lola and Lila Pilipina on Friday, Rommel Bagares of Center of International Law said the women's rights groups would like to talk with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other government agencies to discuss justice for the Filipino comfort women.
Bagares said women's rights groups appreciated the actions of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla when he ordered the creation of a group that will be led by Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez to study reparations for the comfort women.
Remulla ordered the creation of the study group following the issuance of a United Nations decision finding the Philippines in breach of its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in refusing to assist the comfort women in its fight for justice.
"We want to talk with them one of these days, after we have laid down all our actions that we want to do we will go to the DOJ to talk with them," Bagares said.
"Despite their busy schedule I hope that we could find time to talk with them, not only with the DOJ we will also visit other concerned agencies. We would like to talk with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and PCO (Presidential Communications Office)," he added.
Teresita Ang See, head convenor of Flowers for Lola Campaign, added that their organization is planning to form a task force that would focus on coordinating with the government for the immediate implementation of CEDAW recommendation for justice and reparation for the comfort women.
See said they will also "ask the government to establish the general fund for the official compensation including official apology, material and moral damages for the continued discrimination for the rehabilitation and restoration of the dignity and reputation."
Aside from the restoration of comfort women statue which was pulled out in 2018, their group also wants the government to build permanent shrines and memorials "to highlight the women victims of these abuses."
Bagares said their group will talk with the government in the coming days to discuss the immediate reparation for the Filipino comfort women.
"We will see what we can do because we know that only less than 30 of our comfort women are still alive, time is very important here," he said. DMS