November 22-27, 2004
Context for meeting in the Philippines
In 1991 the Philippine Senate withdrew consent for long-term US bases, but the two governments agreed a Visiting Forces Agreement, which provides US military access to airports, seaports, and shore leave (R & R). As a close ally, the Philippines supports the US-led “war on terrorism” including joint training between US and Philippine troops. This international meeting was timed to commemorate the entry of Japanese forces into a village in Mapanique (Pampanga) where women and girls were forcibly held and violated during World War II, and to give renewed visibility to the survivors: the Malaya Lolas. A new women’s coalition, the Philippine Women’s Network for Peace and Security, hosted the meeting.
Participants visited one of the following communities:
- Malaya Lolas (Malaya grandmothers) who were raped by Japanese military men passing through their town during Word War II. For many years they kept silent. More recently they have spoken out about their ordeal, creating songs and performances.
- Families in Madapdap, a resettlement area where several children have serious health conditions related to contaminated water at Clark Air Base, where their families were housed in the early 1990s. They are campaigning for services for these children and environmental cleanup.
- Women in Angeles City and Olongapo who used to work in bars and clubs near former US bases (Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base). They have set up small businesses and organizations to advocate for their needs.
in Manila with country reports from South Korea, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the United States, and the Philippines.
DISCUSSIONS on experiences and strategies to deal with
- – Trafficking, prostitution, and violence against women
- – Conflict, environment and natural resources
- – Women’s health and poverty
- – Government budget and expenditures
NEW CONNECTIONS WITH WOMEN FROM HAWAII
Women from Hawaii participated for the first time. They shared their opposition to US militarism in a state where the Pacific Command has its headquarters. They also taught participants about the take over of Hawaii, an independent kingdom, in 1893 as part of US imperial expansion.
This included an opening ritual led by Korean women; country- group displays using fabrics, posters, and artwork; and a closing ceremony. Malaya Lolas performed at the Open Day. Artist Sandra Torrijos led a painting project. Playback Theater from Switzerland entertained us and taught some of their techniques. Women from Vieques brought a quilt made by women and children in Puerto Rico.
POPULAR WOMEN’S MORNING TV SHOW
featured Aida Santos (Philippines) and Terri Keko’olani Raymoned (Hawaii).
“The women of the Philippines have been searching for peace and genuine human security. We no longer want violence to rule our country.”
— Aida Santos, Philippine Women’s Network for Peace and Security