Place It ‘Somewhere Else,’ Duterte Says of Uprooted ‘Comfort Woman’ Statue in Manila

(Click here to read the original article in Japanese.)

 

A female statue in Manila symbolizing “comfort women” during Japan’s occupation (1942-1945) of the Philippines during World War II has been removed last week, with President Rodrigo Duterte saying the government would “honor it” if it were erected on private property.

 

The statue was built along a major boulevard in the Philippine capital of Manila last December by a Filipino-Chinese organization and others, with the public works ministry and the foreign affairs ministry denying having given any permits for it. The marker, however, bore the seal of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

 

Roxas Boulevard, overlooking the Manila Bay, is where the Japanese embassy is also located.  

 

According to the Japanese embassy in Manila, the Philippine government contacted the embassy on Friday, April 27, regarding the female statue’s removal. The Japanese government had expressed regret over the erection of the statue, calling for the Philippine government to provide Japan with information relevant to how and why it had been built in an abrupt manner.

 

The statue of a Filipino woman had been set up on a promenade facing Manila Bay under the jurisdiction of the Manila city government. When the Sankei’s Manila bureau sent a staffer to the statue site for confirmation on the morning of April 28, the site was found to have been reduced to a hole. Measuring about two meters in width and about one meter in length, it was fenced and covered with a blue plastic sheet. There was no statue nor heavy machinery nearby.

 

However, photos of a government-owned backhoe positioned near the statue had been posted by citizens online days before the removal took place.

 

 

According to a shop clerk near the site, a group of men calling themselves employees of the city government took down the statue on the night of April 27 using a backhoe and other equipment. The pedestal and its monumental plate with an inscription were also taken off in a careful manner before being taken away together with the statue, the store clerk said. He quoted one of the city government workers as saying they were engaged in the removal operation “for a drainage improvement project.”

 

The Department of Public Works and Highways said in a statement that the statue was removed “to give way” to concrete drainage pipes and footbridges that are part of the plans to improve the Roxas Boulevard Baywalk Area.

 

Teresita Ang-See, a Filipino-Chinese, who played an advisory role in erecting the statue, told the Sankei that she had made an inquiry to the city authorities about the matter, but was given no notice about the statue’s removal.

 

The construction of the female Filipino monument was planned by Tulay Foundation, the Filipino-Chinese organization, and other bodies. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines authorized the project to erect the statue with the pedestal bearing the inscription. It read in part in Tagalog “for the cause of paying a tribute to the memory of Filipino women who were victimized by Japanese forces’ abuses during Japan’s occupation of the Philippines.” The Manila municipal government then granted the permission to locate the statue on the bayside promenade.

 

President Duterte’s spokesman said in January that the Philippine chief executive himself would not act on the issue since “the statue is not erected by Malacañang,” referring to the presidential palace.

 

 

However, on Sunday, April 29, two days after the statue was removed, the Philippine president said the statue should not be erected to “antagonize other nations.”

 

In a speech in his home city of Davao, Duterte said: “Whose initiative was it, I really do not know. I didn’t even know that it exists. But it has created somehow a bad, you know… You can place it somewhere else.”

 

He continued: “If there is what you would call a memorial for injustice committed at one time, it’s all right. But do not use…. It is not the policy of government to antagonize other nations.”

 

The President said if the statue was erected on private property, “we will honor it.”

 

He also cited Japan’s reparation efforts since the war ended.

 

 

Hideki Yoshimura is the Sankei Shimbun’s Singapore Bureau Chief.

 

 

(Click here and here to read the original article in Japanese.)

 

 

Author:

Hideki Yoshimura is a chief correspondent for The Sankei Shimbun Singapore Bureau.

1 Comment

  • Dear Japan Forward:

    The left succeeded in planting another Trojan Horse in the U.S.

    On May 23, 2018 Fort Lee, NJ, Mayor Mr. Sokolich cerebrated
    the planting of a Comfort Women monument on his public park—
    while Mr. Duterte of the Philippines on the opposite side of
    the globe literally uprooted the Comfort Woman statue planted
    by communist Chinese and South Koreans.

    The Comfort Woman propaganda was created, recently,
    by a Seiji Yoshida, an anti-Japan identity thief, and spread by
    anti-Japan leftist papers, and scholars— in order to slander Japan,
    and to sever the U.S.-Japan tie.

    The “200 thousand Comfort Women slavery” has never been
    verified, the claim tracing back only to contradictory hearsay
    rooted in the gruesome history of the accusers.

    In contrast, a growing mass of primary evidence only alibi
    Japanese Bushido chivalry before, during and after the WW II.
    Aside from leftist propaganda, why do they lie?
    Where do the imaginative graphic and impassioned rhetorics come from?

    Koreans lie 420 to 540 times more than the Japanese (Korean
    Supreme Court & Korea Herald.)
    Koreans, even in the United States, often have Fire Disease,
    emotional reaction out of the context of facts (e.g., more than
    10% of Koreans in a US community: NIH, HHS author
    manuscript PMC4232959.)

    In contrast, the Japanese reality has been:
    “Under one roof a comfort girl also sleeps— hagi-flower and moon”
    This is a haiku by the Master poet Basho (1644–1694.)

    President Duterte who uprooted the Trojan Horse of Comfort
    Woman statue in Manila said: “Whose initiative was it,
    I really do not know. I didn’t even know that it exists. But
    it has created somehow a bad, you know…
    You can place it somewhere else.”
    President Trump hopefully might honor him by following suit.

    Thank you.

    Toshi Hayakawa, M.D.
    Japan

    bcc: with respect

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