Image of the missing ‘comfort woman’ statue at Baclaran church. FROM LILA PILIPINA TWITTER ACCOUNT

Two elderly women, now 90 years old, braved intermittent rains and attended the Mass dedicated to seniors at the Redemptorist Shrine in Baclaran, Parañaque City early Sunday morning.

Accompanied by their relatives and supporters from Gabriela party-list group, Wa Chi guerilla descendants, Lila Pilipina and other groups that formed the coalition called “Flowers for Lolas,” Estrelita Dy and Narcisa Claveria called on the congregation not to forget the bitter memories brought about by World War 2.

“We should never allow a repeat of our bitter experiences during World War 2,” Dy told a congregation of over a thousand people at the shrine. 

Later, during the short program at the church compound, Dy said she was grateful she met a husband who understood her bitter experience and took her as a lifetime companion.

For her part, Claveria expressed her appreciation for the concern and care extended to them by various groups. At the same time, she called on the general public to help find the bronze statue entrusted to its sculptor after it was removed from a national road on April 27,2017.

The women have repeatedly called for an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government.

Rev. Frs. Victorino Cueto and Teodulfo Holgado of the Redemptorists said they welcomed the proposed relocation of the over a meter bronze memorial into their piazza, and likewise appealed to the people to help in the recovery of the commissioned sculpture worth P1.2 million and paid for by Tulay Foundation.

Civic leader Teresita Ang See, who chairs Flowers for Lolas, said she could hardly believe the reasons given by the sculptor that unidentified men took the bronze statue from his workshop. Lawyer Virginia Lacsa-Suarez said the statue could not easily be transferred from one place to the other as it took a small crane to remove it from its original location on Roxas Boulevard more than a year ago. 

After the Mass and blessing of the members of the coalition, Flowers for Lolas offered flowers at the foot of the pedestal where the bronze statue should have been placed. (Melo M. Acuña)