Women’s partylist group Gabriela today expressed concern over reports on the rape of a Filipina by a US military personnel in Okinawa, Japan, saying this incident would once again prove the perils that US military presence bodes for women and children.
“The Philippine government should lose no time in cooperating with Japan in assisting the Filipina victim in pursuing justice. We must make sure that the perpetrator of this heinous crime is prosecuted and that justice is served,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza.
Initial reports say the victim was raped last February 18 in an Okinawa hotel. Japanese and US authorities are still investigating the incident while the victim is being treated for injuries in a medical facility.
The Gabriela solon pointed out that while this is not the first time that rape is committed by a US military personnel both in Okinawa and the Philippines, agreements with the US still provides no guarantee of giving host countries the benefit of prosecuting and punishing perpetrators on their terms.
Just last week in Okinawa, a 14-year old girl was raped by a US military personnel in a car. Prior to this, there have been at least 12 cases of rape in Okinawa involving US troops. The Japanese government, like the Philippines, during and after prosecution, has not acquired custody of perpetrators, “Again this demonstrates how lopsided these military agreements are.”
Meanwhile, Mindanaoan solon, Rep. Luz Ilagan said that this new case should serve as a warning to Filipinas especially in areas in Mindanao where military exercises are currently being held. “Residents, especially women and children should be warned. These troops are dangerous and they insist to be beyond our laws.”
“That US troops are raping women in countries where there are military exercises and agreements clearly show the drawbacks and social cost of US military presence. There are lessons to be learned and the Philippine government should lose no time in taking concrete measures to review if not terminate the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement. US troops should keep oout of Philippine soil.”#
For Reference: REP. LIZA MAZA (09209134540); REP. LUZ ILAGAN (09209213221); Cristina Palabay, Secretary General (09175003879); Jang Monte, Public Info Officer (09156463009)