By Roy Mabasa
The Japanese government has conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette and the decoration to retired Davao Judge Antonina B. Oshita Escovilla for her contribution to the improvement of the status of Japanese descendants in the Philippines.
Escovilla received the certificate of conferment from Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda and Foreign Minister Taro Kono during the latter’s visit in Davao over the weekend.
In his congratulatory message, Haneda lauded Judge Escovilla for her role in helping Japanese descendants, including in the aspect of educational environment, and to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the Philippines.
In accepting the award, Escovilla expressed her deep appreciation to the Japanese government for the recognition.
Escovilla, a second generation Japanese descendant, became the president of the “Philippine Nikkeijin Kai” (an association of Japanese descendants) to assist its persecuted members.
She served as the legal adviser of the organization and later led the investigation on the ownership rights of the land possessed by Japanese ancestors and traced the roots of Japanese forefathers (for the recognition of Japanese nationality).
She was also credited for her efforts in improving educational environment for children of Japanese descents, helped establish the identity of Japanese descendants and contributed to uplifting their status.
The retired Davao judge said she rejoices together with the thousands of war-displaced Japanese descendants for the conferment.
The awarding rites coincided with the inauguration of the Consulate-General of Japan in Davao and was witnessed by more than 400 guests that includes Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Presidential Peace Process Advisor Carlito Galvez, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V, and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.