Laguna city removes South Korean statue
A city in Laguna on Thursday admitted they removed a one-meter tall South Korean bronze statue of a girl seated on a chair with her fists in her lap last December 30, two days after it was unveiled.
In a statement, San Pedro City Mayor Lourdes Cataquiz said the statue is not similar with the one built in Roxas Boulevard in Manila as the statue offered by the Salt and Light International World Missions, Inc and the city of Jecheon gives recognition, respect, equal protection and empowerment to women.
“The statue is not similar and should not be compared to the statue erected in Roxas Boulevard. It is simply an expression of and dedicated to peace, women empowerment and true friendship between Koreans and Filipinos,” Cataquiz said.
She said the original concept was misunderstood after the South Koreans failed to place a Filipina statue sitting beside the girl.
“It has come to our attention that the unveiling of uncompleted statue was misunderstood as something connected with comfort women,” she said.
San Pedro city administrator Filemon Sibulo told the Daily Manila Shimbun in an interview that he does not know where the statue has been sent or when will it be shipped back to South Korea. The construction of the statue was funded by Jecheon City in South Korea, said Sibulo.
The San Pedro City mayor said it’s not their intention to tarnish harmonious relations which the country has with the Japanese.
“Nonetheless, after knowledge of such concern and due to incompleteness of the statue, it was the initiative of the City of San Pedro to immediately remove it to avoid further public confusion or controversy,” Cataquiz said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said they don’t have any knowledge on who “initiated” the removal of the statue.
"We don't know exactly who initiated the removal,” Panelo said in a press briefing in Malacanang.
“Now, it may be that the local government did it pursuant to the policy of the government,” he said.
Panelo reiterated as far as the government is concerned as in the case of the Roxas Boulevard statue, they would not want to “offend” their ally which is the Japanese government. Ella Dionisio/DMS