Photo from Malaya Lolas on Facebook page.

The Philippine government is taking steps to address the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) views on the case of the Malaya Lolas, a group of Filipino women who suffered sexual violence during World War II.

In a statement released Friday by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the administration emphasized its commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality. While maintaining its position on the admissibility and merits of the case based on national jurisprudence and treaty obligations, the government recognized the grave atrocities endured by these brave women and pledged to find ways to help them live better lives.

The Malaya Lolas case has been a long-standing issue in the Philippines, with the survivors seeking justice and reparations for the sexual violence they endured during World War II. In 2014, the CEDAW Committee found that the Philippines had violated its obligations under the convention by failing to provide the Malaya Lolas with effective remedies for the human rights violations they suffered.

“I wish to underscore that the Administration upholds the primacy of human rights and values the well-being of all Filipino women and girls. We strongly uphold women’s rights and push for gender equality as inscribed in our national laws, our treaty obligations especially under the CEDAW, and other international human rights instruments,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in the statement.

Marcos said he has instructed the relevant government agencies to look into how the concerns of the Malaya Lolas can be appropriately addressed.

He said agencies concerned are formulating a comprehensive response to the CEDAW Committee and will submit this within the required period.

“We commit to undertaking measures and finding ways to help them live better lives as an expression of our continued deep solidarity with them and of our outmost respect,” he said.