Legislator scores Aquino for silence on comfort women during visit of Japanese PM

29 July 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

A party-list congressman has criticized Pres. Benigno Aquino III for his failure to take up the demands of Filipino comfort women during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the weekend.

“The claims of Filipino comfort women must not be swept under rug as the Aquino administration seeks closer military ties with Japan in response to our territorial disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea,” said ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio.

During World War II, thousands of women from Korea, China, the Philippines, and other territories occupied by Japan were forced to work as so-called “comfort women” or prostitutes for the Japanese Imperial Army. Surviving Filipino comfort women have been campaigning for an official apology from the Japanese government as well as reparations.

Tinio pointed out that Pres. Aquino’s own family history was intertwined with the plight of comfort women. “While Filipino comfort women were suffering unspeakable sexual violence at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army, PNoy’s own grandfather and namesake, Benigno Aquino Sr., was serving as one of the most prominent collaborators with the Japanese colonial government.”

Tinio noted that the elder Aquino headed the KALIBAPI (Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas), and eventually served as the Speaker of the National Assembly of the puppet Philippine Republic established in 1943.

“KALIBAPI was the only political party permitted by the Japanese during the occupation. It was analogous to the ruling Nazi party in Germany at the time. PNoy’s grandfather was an enthusiastic recruiter for the cause of the Japanese occupation in the Philippines and, as one of the most prominent collaborators of the puppet government, was probably aware of the systematized sex slavery set up by the Japanese army and victimizing Filipino women,” said Tinio.

“For this reason, I think PNoy, more so than others, has a moral obligation to ensure that Filipino comfort women attain their quest for justice. Pres. Aquino must vigorously pursue efforts to secure from the Japanese government the acknowledgment of their suffering, an official apology, and just reparations for the few remaining survivors,” said Tinio.

The legislator also called into question Malacañang’s plan to open the country’s ports and other facilities to the Japanese armed forces as part of a so-called “strategic partnership” against Chinese incursions in the region. “The last thing we want is for our maritime dispute with China to provide the justification for a resurgence of Japanese militarism. Self-reliance is the key to any genuine assertion of sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. Pres. Aquino must repudiate any plans to allow Japanese troops on Philippine soil,” concluded Tinio. #