Women’s partylist group Gabriela today said the move of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs reverting House Resolution 124 to the committee level is a possible indication that the Japanese government has started meddling into deliberations on legislative measures pertaining to the comfort women.
“It is disappointing that the Philippine Congress appears to be dilly-dallying on this measure while similar resolutions have been approved in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. It appears they are caving in to pressure from the Japanese government. Rep. Liza Maza said.
Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan who attended today’s executive committee hearing said “This is another setback to the continuing struggle of Filipino comfort women for justice. Filipina victims of sexual abuse during World War II more than deserve the support of the Philippine Congress.”
Earlier news reports reveal that the question of quorum was raised to the Committee secretary by a member of the Japanese diplomatic corps that sat as an observer during the hearing last March 11.
“No member of Congress has expressed their objection to this resolution that hopes to add pressure to the Japanese government to formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility over the sexual slavery of young women during WWII. No member of congress raised question on the usual procedure that committees undergo in the approval of legislative measures. It just took one member of Japan’s diplomatic corps to question the quorum last March 11 to shake the Committee.”
“We feel this is a result of Japanese government intervention, and an insult to the independence of the House of Representatives. ”
Both Maza and Ilagan remain hopeful for the immediate passage of the resolution. “The victims are in their twilight years and their demands are just. It would be heartless, unjust and cowardly for Congress to ignore this legislative effort to support the cause of the Lolas for the sake of Japanese interests.”
Today, comfort women and advocates from South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Indonesia, United States and Taiwan visited the House of Representatives as they sought a legislative dialogue with authors of HR 124, members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and House Speaker Prospero Nograles.#