Lawmaker: Investigate atrocities during PH-US War, WWII, Martial Law
MANILA, Philippines – Kabayan Representative Harry Roque filed a House resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to form commissions that would investigate crimes committed against Filipinos during the Philippine-American War, World War II, and the Martial Law era.
Under House Resolution (HR) Number 339, Roque wants Duterte to form independent commissions composed of experts who would "investigate, write, and make public through academic publications and other venues" complete historical accounts of the following:
- The Filipinos killed during the Philippine-American War from 1899 to 1902
- The "horrific" system of sexual slavery imposed by the Japanese Imperial Army on Filipinos during World War II
- Human rights violations committed during the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos
"These and other atrocities of war and pacification campaigns suffered by Filipinos are little known even among today's generation, because of the failure of the educational system to provide them with the proper teaching of history based on well-documented research," said Roque.
"Worse, our own government has been complicit in its historical silence and refusal to honor the memory of those who suffered by consigning them to the proverbial dustbin of history," added the lawmaker.
In his resolution, Roque recalled the East Asia Summit on September 8, when Duterte presented photos of the Bud Daho massacre in the early 1900s before ASEAN leaders, including US President Barack Obama.
The photos showed US forces standing around a mass grave of about 1,000 slain Filipinos in Sulu during the Philippine-American War.
Roque also cited the Malaya Lolas of Mapanique, Tarlac as an example of the sexual slavery that the Japanese perpetuated in the Philippines during World War II.
"[They] until now cry for justice because their own government has refused to take up their case against the State of Japan in exchange for foreign aid," said Roque.
He also mentioned the 75,000 recognized victims of Martial Law.
The abuses committed during Marcos' 21-year rule are among the reasons why activists and Martial Law victims are seeking to stop his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. (READ: How justices pursued issues on Marcos burial on days 1 and 2)
"While a law was passed to pay reparations to the victims of Martial Law in 2013, there is yet no comprehensive and official record made of these abuses committed under the Marcos regime," said Roque.
Meanwhile, HR Number 339 also seeks to commend Duterte for saying that the Philippines would be pursuing an "independent foreign policy" under his administration. (READ: Duterte: PH won't cut 'umbilical cord' with allies)
The same resolution also wants Duterte to revoke the "unequal agreements" entered into by the Philippines with the US – the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Roque also urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to negotiate with Japan to give proper reparations due to the Malaya Lolas and other Filipinas sexually abused by the Japanese Imperial Army. – Rappler.com