Thursday, November 11, 2010

President Aquino to ask Congress for law on comfort women

MANILA, Nov. 10 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has taken up the cudgels for the so-called Filipino comfort women by vowing to ask Congress for authorization to use public funds to compensate these victims of sexual abuse by members of the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II.

In an interview with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines in Malacañang Tuesday, the Chief Executive underscored the importance of working towards providing reparation for the horrors experienced by these women for them to get a measure of their dignity back.

“As far as the compensation is concerned, I understand the reparations and part of the Treaty (of Peace with Japan signed in 1951) is supposed to have taken cared of all reparations so if it is the Philippine government who failed to take care of them adequately some time in the 50s, I think, then that should be something that we should correct,” President Aquino said.

“So I’ll probably go to Congress and ask them for a pertinent law that will authorize expenditures to make up for what previous governments in this country had failed to do,” he added.

On seeking apology from Japan, the President said he would task his soon-to-be-appointed ambassador to Japan to “explore ways” at achieving this.

“As far asking for apologies at this point in time, diplomacy has to have a lot of legwork done with it and we are in the process of culminating/the appointment of a new ambassador to Japan and that will be one of his tasks upon assumption of office, subject to confirmation by our Commission on Appointments,” the President said.

When asked if the compensation for the comfort women was included in the 2011 budget, the President said that although it had already been passed, “Perhaps we can ask for a supplement if that is allowable under the pertinent laws.”  

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