On December 28, 2018, Jechun City from the North Choongchung Province in South Korea and San Pedro City put their efforts together to install the “Peace Girl” Statue at a private retirement home called Mary Mother of Mercy Home, a shelter for the elderly and abandoned at Barangay San Antonio in San Pedro, the Philippines. The installation of this statue was proposed by the San Pedro Mayor Lourdes Cataquiz, who saw the replica of the “Peace Girl” Statue in Jechun on his visit to the city in September 2018. The unveiling ceremony at the retirement home was called Unveiling of the Monument of Peace and Women Empowerment. A day after the installation, the sculptors, Seo-kyung Kim and Eun-sung Kim, already expressed concern about Japanese government interference.
Two days after the installation, on December 30, the Japanese Embassy issued a statement expressing disappointment over the statue: “We believe that the establishment of a ‘comfort woman’ statue in other countries, including this case, is extremely disappointing, not compatible with the Japanese government.”
Later that day, the statue was removed.
This is the second time a “comfort women” statue was removed in the Philippines. On April 27th, 2018, in the middle of night, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) removed the first statue, which was installed on December 8, 2017 by the city government of Manila, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, grassroots organizations, and local residents in Manila. Japan holds major economic influence in the country.
At the 1,365th Wednesday Rally, Congressman Mike Honda held the banner right next to the Peace Statue in front of the Japanese embassy. The banner reads, “Abe, apologize to ‘comfort women!’” Much appreciation goes to Mike and the Korean Council.
Photo credit: the Korean Council.