The Daily Manila Shimbun


“Comfort women” statue in Manila vandalized

March 27, 2018

A controversial statue, depicting the so-called "comfort women" during World War II when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the Philippines, and constructed in Manila, has been vandalized. The plate at the back of the statue, with the inscription of "Filipina Comfort Women" Statue and the name of its designer, Jonas Roces, was defaced. Gabriela, an alliance of Filipino women supporting the cause of the former comfort women, expressed anger over the incident. "We are saddened and the same time angered by the vandalism of the comfort women statue; for the erasure of what was written on the plate at the back of the statue is vandalism," the group said. "This is another form of injustice to the comfort women who after more than three decases of struggle have not yet found justice. This is also disrespect of Philippine history," it added. Gabriela urged the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to investigate the matter. Asked of the Palace's reaction and how the government should preserve a historical statue, such as the "Filipino Comfort Women Statue", Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told the Manila Shimbun, "That('s) not Malacanang statue." He said the question should instead be asked to the city government of Manila. "Please address query to city government of Manila," he said. Since the statue was erected late last year, the Palace has been distancing itself from the issue, apparently not to strain the Philippine relations with Japan, the top source of Manila's official development assistance. At least two high-ranking Japanese officials had told President Rodrigo Duterte of Tokyo's regrets over the erection of the sculpture. The city government of Manila, which has jurisdiction over the marker, vowed to look into the matter. Celerina Monte/DMS