NHCP rejects sale of Japan reparation assets

Published October 2, 2020, 10:53 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), through a House member, has bluntly rejected the proposal to sell the country’s war reparation assets in Japan.

“The position of the NHCP, the position of the entire community, they are opposed to the sale. Kontra po (They oppose it),” Appropriations Committee vice-chairman, Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda, said Friday during the plenary debates on the proposed P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021.

At that time, Salceda was defending the NHCP’s part of the budget for next year.

The interpellator, Gabriela Party-List Rep. Arlene Brosas, asked what the Commission thought about the proposed sale of the Philippine assets in Japan supposedly as a way to raise funds for the pension of war veterans.

“Hindi ho pwedeng gawin yan eh (That can’t be done) because they are declared as national cultural treasures. In short, they cannot be sold,” Salceda categorically said.

“Hindi po pwede ibenta kasi kontra po sila (The NHCP is opposed to it, which means they can’t be sold). They are declared…kasi nga kapag declared as national cultural treasures, hindi mo pwede ibenta. (If they are declared as national cultural treasures, you can’t sell them),” the Bicolano stressed.

Brosas, whose party-list Gabriela has protected the interest of wartime Filipino “comfort women” in the past, agreed with the agency in that the Japan reparation assets must not be sold.

“This representation is opposed to the sale of certain assets deemed very important (and with) symbolic value not only to Filipino veterans but to our nation’s history,” Brosas said.

She underscored that such sale needs concurrence from both the executive and the legislature–meaning Congress—for it to be even considered.

There is already a call from the Lower Chamber to block the sale attempt–last September 19, Cagayan de Oro City 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed House Resolution (HR) No.1220. The bill identifies four properties–two are located in the Roppongi and Nampedai districts in Tokyo, while the other two are in Kobe.

The Philippines acquired the assets from Japan under a reparations agreement on May 9, 1956, the Mindanaoan said. Japanese forces occupied the Philippines in the 1940s during World War II.

Rodriguez’s measures seeks to express the sense of the House in opposing the sale of these assets, which he described as having immense symbolic value.