Lawmakers seek probe on removal of comfort woman statue

MANILALawmakers from the Gabriela Women's Party (GWP) on Thursday filed a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry on the removal of the comfort woman statue along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

Gabriela lawmakers, Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus, led the filing of House Resolution 1859 along with Filipina comfort woman survivor Estelita Dy, incoming Lila Pilipina executive director Sharon Cabusao, and Teresita Ang-See of Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran Inc., among others.

In the resolution, the lawmakers said the structure's removal "violates existing laws and blackens the memory of abused comfort women."

De Jesus cited Presidential Decree 1505 which declares as unlawful any alteration, modification, or destruction of any national shrine, monument, landmark and other important historic edifices classified by the National Historical Institute as such without prior permission from the Chairman.

Brosas said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano should be summoned to the House probe to explain the "extremely urgent" letter his agency sent to the Manila City government and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) regarding the statue.

Why should the local government and the NHCP explain to the DFA the unveiling of a comfort woman statue in Manila? What is the role of DFA in the removal of the statue? Secretary Cayetano should answer this in a congressional inquiry, Brosas said.

The legislators said they would convince senator-allies to sponsor a counterpart resolution at the Senate.

In April, the Department of Public Works and Highways removed the comfort woman statue along Roxas Boulevard in Manila to allow its flood control project.

This move drew protests from social activists who wanted to retain statue in its place to remind future generations about the atrocities committed by Japanese forces in the past.

President Rodrigo Duterte R. Duterte, for his part, said that the comfort woman statue could simply be transferred to somewhere else.

The President pointed out that the Japanese had already paid early since reparation has started many years ago. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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