Retired judge felt "like crying" after news of Japan gov't award
DAVAO CITY ? A retired judge said she could not help but become tear-eyed upon receiving news of her as a recipient of a Japanese government award for her legal and welfare work with Filipinos of Japanese descent.
“I am happy, honored and privileged to be an awardee. Makahilak ko sa balita (I feel like crying at this news),” said Antonina B. Oshita Escovilla in an interview.
A statement by the Japanese Embassy in Manila said “in recognition of her contribution to the improvement of the status of Japanese descendants, including educational environment, and to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the Philippines, the Government of Japan confers 'The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette' to retired Judge Antonina B. Oshita Escovilla.'
The award, announced by the Japanese Embassy in Manila, said Escovilla is a second generation Japanese descendant who joined the Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai (PNJK) “to assist persecuted Japanese-descended Filipinos”.
She said her deceased father, a reserve officer of the Japanese Imperial Army, “would be so proud that one of his kids has been recognized of her dedication to work”.
Ecovilla's father died after the war, yet, “we still have a lot of descendants who are not yet recognized due to insufficient evidence”.
“The Japanese government can be of help if it can show a little leniency on the available documents the members have,” she said.
Escovilla is the president of the Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School Inc. here, and as a judge, she has worked out for the recognition of the Japanese descendants by the Japanese government. She said her work as president since 2012 involved screening of members to be rendered legal assistance.
She handled special proceeding cases of members and prepare sworn statements for submission to the Japanese embassy in Manila every time applications for resident visas were filed.
For example in 2015, in one of her regular reports to the association, she said “our association is so blessed with the numerous number of approved shuseki which program is funded by the Nippon Foundation”.
“The generous financial assistance extended by the Nippon Foundation under the leadership of Chairman Yohei Sasakawa paved the way to acknowledging and recognizing PNJK members as children of the Japanese national. The favorable judgment obtained served as an inspiration to all movers to continue research work for those second generation who have yet to be recognized,” she said.
She said the association saluted “the staff of PNLSC (Philippine Nikkei-jin Legal Support Center) Japan, PNLSC Manila and the Project Administrator based in Davao City under the supervision of PNJK Davao Chapter for their joint effort in processing all documents used as evidence supporting the Petitions before the Family Court in Japan”.
She said the patience of some petitions lasting for “almost six decades [and] had paid off”. DMS