The forgotten ‘consolation ladies’ of the Philippines – and their wrestle for justice | EUROtoday

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In the Philippines, solely 40 victims of Japan’s sexual enslavement are nonetheless alive at this time. One of them is 94-year-old Maxima Mangulabnan, one other villager from Mapaniqui who, within the wake of the 1944 assault, was raped by Japanese troopers and later taken to the Red House.

Mangulabnan not lives in Mapaniqui, having moved to a different province, however she has handed a number of the tales of the warfare onto her daughter Estelita.

“The people of Mapaniqui were running. The bombs were coming and they were dying. They were hiding in different places but they couldn’t go far,” stated Estelita. “Both my mother and grandmother were raped.”

For so lengthy, such experiences remained hidden inside households, a secret disgrace, solely shared from one technology to the subsequent.

But within the early Nineties, the ladies of Mapaniqui travelled to Manila, the capital of the Philippines, to foyer for presidency assist for his or her plight.

“It fell on deaf ears,” Quilantang stated.

It was the start of an extended wrestle for justice.

The street to reparations

In 1995, the divisive Asian Women’s Fund, a reparations scheme for consolation ladies created by the Japanese authorities, started compensating victims.

However, the ladies of Mapaniqu and different members of Malaya Lolas had been denied entry to the fund as they weren’t thought-about to have been abused for an extended sufficient interval.

In 2004, the group reached out to the Philippine Supreme Court to compel the state to assist them of their pursuit of restitution however the petition was dismissed in 2010. The court docket dominated that solely the president can determine to symbolize the “comfort women” of their calls for to Japan.

A subsequent transfer to enchantment the choice was additionally rejected 4 years later.

“The Supreme Court said it sympathises with the experiences of Malaya Lolas but it also said that it’s a political question, a political question that only the executive department or only the president of the Philippines can decide and he can’t be forced by the court,” stated Virginia Suarez, a lawyer for Malaya Lolas.

After exhausting all attainable authorized cures on the home entrance, the ladies carried their combat for justice to the UN, arguing that the Filipino authorities has failed to deal with sexual violence in opposition to the survivors by refusing to symbolize their calls for for reparations.