Friday, August 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Lola Narcisa Claveria, along with other members and advocates of LILA Pilipina, protest before the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines. She is still waiting for a direct and unequivocal apology from Japan.
The PHILIPPINE INQUIRER reports that Philippine Representatives Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of the Gabriela Women’s party-list, Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño of Bayan Muna (People First), Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses), Eduardo Zialcita of Parañaque, and Neil Tupas of Iloilo filed Resolution 124 following the US House of Representatives’ adoption of a similar measure.
By Maila Ager
Last updated 06:35pm (Mla time) 08/13/2007
MANILA, Philippines -- A resolution urging the Japanese government to formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept its responsibility for sexual slavery in World War II and compensate the victims was filed at the House of Representatives on Monday.
Representatives Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of the Gabriela Women’s party-list, Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño of Bayan Muna (People First), Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses), Eduardo Zialcita of Parañaque, and Neil Tupas of Iloilo filed Resolution 124 following the US House of Representatives’ adoption of a similar measure.
Last July 31, the US House approved Resolution 121 expressing its sense that the government of Japan “should formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Forces’ coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as comfort women,” during World War II.
“Following the step of the US House of Representatives in passing Resolution 121, the Philippine government is demonstrating its earnest interest to help the Filipino comfort women achieve the justice they deserve and reclaim their dignity and that one of the Filipino people,” Resolution 124 said.
It has been more than a decade now, it noted, since the victims started clamoring for an official apology and legal redress from the Japanese government for the “unimaginable suffering they experienced in the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army.”
And while the Japanese government recognizes the issues concerning comfort women, the resolution lamented that it continued to assert that it had no obligation to compensate the victims since the matter had already been settled by the signing of the San Francisco Treaty and other bilateral treaties.
For Immediate Release
August 14, 2007
Contact: Faith Santilla, firstname.lastname@example.org, (626) 353-2649; Milady Quito, email@example.com
GABNET 3 RETURN TO THE US AFTER BEING CASUALTIES OF THE SO-CALLED PHILIPPINE “ANTI-TERROR LAW”
GABRIELA Network (GABNet) National Chairperson and USC Professor Dr. Annalisa Enrile was greeted by GABNet members, friends, family, lawyers and members of the media as she exited US Customs at the Tom Bradley International Terminal of LAX this evening. She and two other GABNet leaders, Judith Mirkinson and Ninotchka Rosca, all landed in the United States at approximately 8:30 PM local time, with Mirkinson and Rosca arriving in San Francisco.
At Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the three human rights activists attempted to board flights back home to the US despite the fact that they had been placed on a “watchlist” by Philippine authorities. The women spent over an hour besieged by smug immigration authorities at the Ninoy Aquino Airport, until GABRIELA Women’s Partylist Representative Liza Maza and GABRIELA Attorney Alnie Foja intervened.
In spite of being denied the right to board her first flight on August 5th, US-born Enrile and the two other women were never informed of the reason their names appeared on a watchlist. The only reason they were targeted, the women speculate, is because of their efforts to defend human rights in the Philippines. “I am glad to be back home,” Dr. Enrile states, “but this will not discourage me from going back to the Philippines and exposing the tyrannical policies of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime.” Since President Macapagal Arroyo took office in 2001, there have been approximately 900 murders and disappearances of activists, clergy, labor leaders and their families, 90 of which were GABRIELA members or affiliates. The Philippines is also cited as being the most dangerous country for journalists after Iraq, according to the International Press Institute.
The timing of the intimidation and harassment of the GABNet 3 comes at a time when Macapagal-Arroyo’s controversial Human Security Act, also known as the Anti-Terror law, goes into effect. The much criticized Act contains language akin to martial law, such as the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, warrantless arrests, and so-called preventive detention.”
GABNet is a Philippine-U.S. solidarity mass organization that was established in 1989. ####
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
14 August 2007
STILL NO JUSTICE FOR LOLAS 62 YEARS AFTER END OF WWII
The elderly women of Lila Pilipina, organization of Filipino victims of Japanese war time atrocities, and members of the militant women’s group, GABRIELA held a protest action in front of the Japanese Embassy today in commemoration of the 62nd Anniversary of the Second World War.
“Justice remains elusive for the Filipina ‘comfort women.’ Many of the lola’s have died but we must continue the fight for justice. Otherwise, we will not learn from the lessons of history and more women will suffer the fate of ‘comfort women’.” This was according to Ritchelda Extremadura, Executive Director of Lila Pilipina.
“The fight for justice of the lola’s should be the fight of all Filipino women. Calling for justice means calling for an end to the victimization of women in times of war. It means calling for an end to wars of aggression,” said Joms Salvador, spokesperson of GABRIELA.
According to Salvador, studies show that 80% of those affected by war – killed, injured and traumatized – are women and children.
Meanwhile, Lila Pilipina lauds the Gabriela Women’s Party for filing a House Resolution for the Philippine Government to urge the Government of Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept its responsibility over the sexual slavery of young women commonly known as comfort women.”
“It has been decades since the first Filipino ‘comfort woman’ came out and sought justice but the Philippine government has yet to officially take a stand on the issue. It is shameful for any government which cannot stand up for its citizens aggrieved by foreign military,” said Extremadura.
The House Resolution was filed yesterday by Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party.
The protest action of Lila Pilipina and GABRIELA is also part of the Global Action Day Demonstration on the issue of “comfort women” on August 15. Simultaneous demonstrations are expected in Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, Seoul and Busan in South Korea, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Taiwan and USA.
Ritchelda Extremadura, Lila Pilipina Executive Director, 0915-5379579
Joms Salvador, GABRIELA Spokesperson, 371-2302 / 0918-6254080
MANILA -- Six lawmakers signed a resolution filed on Monday by a women’s partylist group asking Japan for a formal apology and acceptance of responsibility over the sexual slavery of young women by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
“It has been over two decades since Filipino comfort women first found the courage to step up, reveal their ordeal and seek justice. It is indeed high time that the Philippine government take concrete steps to support our comfort women,” said Representatives Lisa Maza and Luz Ilagan of Gabriela party-list in a statement.
The resolution was also signed by Congressmen Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna; Crispin Beltran of Anak Pawis ; Eduardo Zialcita of Paranaque and Niel Tupas of Ilo-Ilo.
”Last month, the US House Representatives has passed Resolution 121 calling on Japan to acknowledge,apologize and accept historical responsibility for its war crimes.What has the Philippine government done for our comfort women?” Maza asked.
Rep.Luzviminda Ilagan, explained that passing the resolution will help boost initiatives of Japanese legislators seeking to pass a bill entitled “Promotion of Resolution for Issues Concerning Victims of Wartime Sexual Coercion Act."
Sunday, August 12, 2007
August 12, 2007
On August 5, 2007, agents of the Philippine government prevented one of us from boarding her return flight to the United States. The reason given was that she was on a nebulous "watchlist" and needed clearance from various and diverse Philippine government agencies. We would learn, subsequently, that two of the GABNet members visiting the Philippines – International Relations Officer Judith Mirkinson and nternational Spokesperson of the GABRIELA Purple Rose Campaign Against Sex trafficking of Filipinas Ninotchka Rosca -- were also on the watchlist, which contained over 500 names.
Considering the surrealistic situation we find ourselves in, where no one seems to be able to explain the nature of this "watchlist," the basis for being included in the "watchlist," and what the process is for getting "cleared" and off the list, even of who is actually responsible for the list, we would not be surprised if the list included imaginary men and women.
We would probably have looked at this experience as some kind of Harry Potter adventure, were it not for the perilous state of human rights in the Philippines, where some 90 women activists, organizers and leaders have been assassinated out of a total of nearly a thousand murdered, and where the second highest number of writers and media people have been killed in the world today. We are constrained to view with deep alarm the impunity with which the Philippine government has violated Dr. Enrile's civil and human rights, and the naked shamelessness with which it threatens to violate the civil and human rights of Ms. Mirkinson and Ms. Rosca, as well as various and diverse people on the so-called "watchlist," "blacklist" and "holdlist."
We are absolutely sure we are under attack because of our work as members of the US-Philippine women's solidarity mass organization GABRIELA Network which has consistently upheld militant sisterhood with GABRIELA Philippines for 18 years and with the Gabriela Women's Party since the latter's formation. We are absolutely certain that this violation of our civil and political rights is occasioned by our work in organizing women and women of Philippine ancestry; by our decade-long work against the traffic of Filipinas; and by our commitment to the securing of basic rights and the expansion of freedoms for all women, especially the women of the Philippines, as well as for the nation as a whole.
Because of this track record, certain personalities in the Philippine government have chosen to express their hatred of women and of freedom by violating and seeking to violate our human rights. We say to them, as well as pledge to those who support and continue to support us, that harassment and intimidation will fail. For far too long have working women been disempowered, dispossessed and reified. Not even by a single second will intimidation, harassment and human rights violations cause us to cease our work on behalf of the emancipation of womankind.
Governments of countries like the Philippines which survive on selling women in the international labor and sex trade markets absolutely hate and wish to destroy women like us, who insist on respect, dignity and equality for womankind. Governments of countries like the Philippines which consider women to be a disposable and surplus population absolutely hate and wish to destroy women like us who insist on an equal share of social, political and economic power for womankind. The violation of our rights as women and as human beings is therefore simply a small part of a general state of disrespect for human rights and women's rights prevalent in countries under governments like that of the Philippines.
We are deeply moved that our particular case has found resonance among peoples and organizations the world over. We thank GABRIELA Philippines, Gabriela Women's Party and most of all, our heart-sisters in GABRIELA Network for the support, outrage and clamor on our behalf. We thank ANSWER, friends in the National Lawyers Guild, the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada, Justice for Filipino-American Veterans, BAYAN Philippines, Pacific-Asian and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry, and others too numerous to name, for their support. Our most profound gratitude goes to individuals and organizations who approached this issue with respect for our persons, our situation and our work.
We wish to assure everyone we will continue to seek redress of our grievance and to assert our civil, political, human and women's rights. --###
GABRIELA Purple Rose Campaign