Monday, January 12, 2009

TEARN WAR INTO PEACE (October 20, 2008)

While some make a big fuss over the war between Saturn and Leo as the root cause of all crises, others make peace happen.

By that, we mean our students this semester at the University of the Philippines whose roads led to the Lolas' House last October 11 in a cultural/medical/dental mission for the so-called comfort women.
The Japanese government has been categorically denying their existence.
But, the irony of it, they have a word for them -- jugun ianfu!
These “enforced military sex laborer or slave for the Japanese Imperial Army (JIA) in the name of Emperor Hirohito” are the 100,000 to 250,000 women from the Philippines and other Asian countries who were locked inside army whorehouses called “comfort stations.”
After the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, these military brothels became official in all garrisons, not only here but also in Korea, Malaysia, the South Sea islands, Dutch East Indies or Indonesia, Manchuria, and other Chinese territories.
After detention and dehumanization, they were ordered to do a harakiri, killed in trenches, and executed summarily.
Those abandoned and/or escapees are the ones our students have been comforting for 15 years, via peace education, since we began teaching at the U.P. College of Arts and Letters.
The young can easily identify with the old since they were girls, aged 11 to 20, during World War II -- which was not our war – in the first place.
Documented are 174 cases of Filipinas who were forced into wartime brothels.
Out of 100 who survived, 42 died as of mid-2004.
Sad to say , the Filipino comfort women are in a losing streak in their lawsuit.
Well, it was against the Japanese government at the Tokyo District Court.
Unfortunately, the Philippine government's response was reportedly lukewarm.
It had been careful and cautious not to antagonize its special trade relations with Japan (especially now that it is one of dialogue partners like China and South Korea expected to come up with “a crisis fund to buy toxic debts and recapitalize banks”) in exchange for these demands:
  1. to pressure Japan to reveal all the information from its war archives about comfort station and the comfort women system;
  2. to ask for proper compensation for the war crime victims;
  3. to include in the Japanese textbooks the reality of sexual slavery;
  4. to let Japan admit its use of violence against these women;
  5. to urge Japan to say a formal sorry to the Filipino people, especially to the lolas and their families who suffered greatly from such violation of human rights.
Moreover, the lolas are not knocking on the Japanese door alone but on our own too!
Since 1992, certain battles won can be attributed to the untiring efforts of people’s organizations like the Liga ng mga Lolang Pilipina or Lila Pilipina founded by Nelia Sancho.
After a national assembly on 16 May 1994, the Lila Pilipina concept was born a month later -- on the 25th of June – but Lolas' House was built only on 26 February 1996 patterned after Korea's House of Sharing as a temporary shelter or sanctuary for them where they can avail of free therapy.
Under the leadership of Rechilda Extremadura, it had been implementing such programs as Lola’s Self-Esteem Building and Organizing; Information, Education and Media Relations; Welfare Assistance Program; International Networking Program; Lawsuit Support Action; and the like.
Now, it has been developed as a museum or historical center where memorabilia and other documents about them are stored.
Mid-90s, we found the Lolas' House along Matimpiin Street, then, a year or two ago, they transferred to Mapagbigay Street but recently they moved to Narra Street, all in Quezon City.
Mayor Sonny Belmonte perhaps can help them find a more “patient,” “generous,” and “stabilized” environment which they can call their own -- for the simple reason that, it appears, there is no other city for them but Q.C.!
Last Tuesday, to make their reports more accessible – including their reflection paper on the Lolas' House experience – the same group of youngsters launched their websites namely or or or at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe along Visayas Avenue, also in Q.C.
Two Conspiwriters' Tuesdays ago – its head waiter Richard Romorosa gave us Gary Granada's latest -- Children's Songs for Peace Education -- with 20 original songs plus minus-one made possible by his engineer Dominic Benedicto, painter Boy Dominguez, and producer Yna Miranda-Dalisay.
In a duet with his Promil Kid Luke, Granada succeeds in exploding the code of the orthodox way of teaching while exploring the alternative kind, through his 58-lesson syllabus and sequence guide for instructors on the Evolution and Organization of Society anchored on his principle of SALAHEDANGANA or SAri, LAHi, EDad, ANyo, GAling and NAis.
Sounds like the experimental efforts of Dr. Ramon Santos' ethnomusicologist friend Endo Suanda who -- with other artists Ratna Yulianti, Juju Masunah, and Ayo Sutarma – teamed up in revolutionizing the Indonesian education by incorporating folk music, dance, and theater like topeng in very affordable modules that are in book and compact disc form reproduced by the thousands!
That is why, Dalubhasaan sa Edukasyon, Sining, at Kultura (DESK) -- composed of Dr. Santos with Dr. Brenda Fajardo, Prof. Shine Canta, Riya Brigino, Loen Vitto, Mapee Singson, among others -- has finally shared lunch with them at the equally pioneering ROC (Restaurant of Choice) so that we could partner with them, maybe, in peace education through the arts!
In the meantime, in our own way, we with our students will continue to “tearn.”
Teach and learn, that is, from each other in and out of our classrooms.
Ask Joey Ayala.
Keep our communication lines open, feel free to email us at
If lawyers are disBARred,
priests are deFROCKed,
shouldn't clerks be deFILED,
musicians deCOMPOSED,
politicians deVOTED,
drunkards deLIVERed,
electricians deLIGHTed,
and prostitutes deLAYed?
Behind every great man, there's a surprised woman.

No comments:

Post a Comment