Senator Marcos demands swift action for Filipino ‘comfort women’ reparations

Comfort Women
(Image obtained from the official social media page of Senator Imee R. Marcos)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Imee Marcos urged several government departments to immediately complete the list of benefits and obligations awarded to Filipino “comfort women” by the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

“Let’s concretize the implementation of the CEDAW judgment, otherwise  it remains meaningless… marami ito, may medical assistance; livelihood assistance for their families, in addition to themselves; educational opportunities sa mga anak at apo; and housing… I need to have a ‘shopping list’ of all the things that we want,” Marcos said during a hearing Tuesday, May 7, conducted by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which she chairs.

On March 8, 2023, acting on a complaint filed by 24 “Malaya Lolas,” CEDAW found that the Philippines failed to provide reparation, social support and recognition commensurate to the harm suffered by victims of sexual slavery perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese Army during WW2, in violation of the rights of the victims.

Marcos created a technical working group (TWG) to immediately identify all obligations and corresponding funding sources so that the remaining surviving 18 “Malaya Lolas” shall receive the reparations.

The TWG includes the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), and all other concerned government agencies.

Marcos questioned why 8 other “Malaya Lolas” have not yet been given social pension while the other 10 started to receive assistance in 2021. She also questioned why the DHSUD failed to provide housing assistance to the victims despite the lapse of more than a year from the promulgation of the CEDAW ruling.

Marcos stressed, the Filipino “comfort women” must not suffer another injustice, this time, in the form of delayed government action or inaction.

“Let me put on record my deep and abiding empathy with the ‘Malaya Lolas’ and the other victims of the atrocious deeds committed against Filipino women, children and the rest of the population in World War 2. They are horrendous crimes that should never ever have to be endured in the civilized world and we will do everything to make certain that such inhumanity never recurs,” the senator said.

In its ruling, CEDAW recommended that the Philippines grant “full reparation, including recognition, redress and an official apology for material and moral damages, for the continuous discrimination that they have suffered, and restitution, rehabilitation and satisfaction, including the restoration of their dignity and reputation, which includes financial reparation proportionate to the physical, psychological and material damage suffered by them and to the gravity of the violations of their rights.”


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