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. San Pedro Mayor Lourdes Cataquiz proposed the installation of the statue after seeing a replica 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, expressed concern about Japanese government already interfering with the installtion.
Two days later, 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. The first “comfort women” memorial installed in Manila on December 8, 2017 was removed on April 27, 2018 by the Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways in the middle of the night. The pretext was the need to pave the way for a flood control project. The city government of Manila, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, grassroots organizations, and local residents in Manila installed the statue. 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.