DAVAO CITY – The standing order of the US Naval Command banning US troops from going down from their ships and engaging in social activities including R and R (rest and recreation) will not stop rape from happening, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.
In news reports, Roberto Garcia, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) sain on Monday that there is an order from the US Naval Command that military officers are not allowed to go down from their ships.
“Walang R and R [There’s no rest and recreation],” Garcia said.
Gabriela Women’s Partylist representative Luzviminda Ilagan, however, said “even curfews, bar bans and rest and recreation restrictions will not assure Filipinos that no harm will come to their communities with the increased deployment of US soldiers.”
“Abuses do not just happen in bars. In fact there have been several reports before that women can be brought in to their stations. In Mindanao, where US troops are stationed we have received reports of prostitution and sex trafficking,” said Ilagan.
Ilagan said that it would be better for US soldier to leave the Philippines and for the Philippine government to have the political will to make US soldiers leave.
“They did it before in Clark, in Subic and in Mindanao; they did it in Okinawa and recently there are reports that they raped more than 50 girls in Colombia. They leave a trail of abuses in so many locations where they are stationed. In the same way that there is no assurance that the US will defend the Philippines against China, there is also no assurance that they will not rape, abuse or even kill Filipino women and children,” Ilagan said.