“More than being a case of sexual violence, the rape of our “kabaro”, Hazel, an Overseas Filipino Worker in Okinawa is a showcase of government neglect and inutility and of lopsided foreign military relations that the Philippines refuse to stand up against. We throw our support for Hazel and her continuing battle for justice.”
This was the statement given by Gabriela Women’s Party Secretary
General Cristina Palabay in a press conference with the women’s alliance Gabriela, Migrante International and “Nanay Melly”, Hazel’s mother. The women’s partylist group is joining Hazel’s mother in a “Mission to Okinawa”.
“Nanay Melly hopes to be with Hazel and be completely appraised of her situation as well as her case. This was something that the Department of Foreign Affairs failed to do and something that we, as concerned women’s groups, migrants’ organizations and individuals hope to achieve through our concerted efforts,” said Palabay.
It was learned that the DFA had not been in touch with Hazel’s family to give an update on her case other than to tell them that the case had been dismissed by the prosecutors last month.
According to Palabay, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luz Ilagan will be personally accompanying Hazel’s mother in Okinawa next week. Aside from getting a thorough assessment of Hazel’s case and legal options, Gabriela Women’s Party and the “Mission to Okinawa” intends to also look into the situation of Filipina migrants and entertainers in Okinawa.
“Filipina migrants, especially those working as entertainers in places near US military bases are in such vulnerable circumstances. More often than not, their situation invites and even allows sexual abuse. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Japanese government, no different from the Philippines, cannot stand up to the US government who continues to protect their military personnel, even those found criminally liable.”
Palabay further said that it is no surprise that the recently concluded International Migrants Assembly attended by over 90 migrants’ organizations as well as Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Ilagan in HongKong, immediately approved a resolution forwarded by Gabriela and Gabriela Women’s Party condemning the Okinawa rape case and declaring support for Hazel. Part of the resolution reads as follows:
“This conference resolves to commit to condemn the rape of Hazel by a US Soldier, condemns the inutility and neglect of both Philippine and Japanese governments, their seeming complicity with the US government that robs Hazel of justice”#