On July 13, 2023 at the Museo of Muntinlupa in Muntinlupa City, the 70th Anniversary of the Quirino Grant of Clemency to Japanese Prisoners of war (POWs) was commemorated.
It was titled “Peace for the Future” highlighting the historic grant of Pardon to Japanese POWs in 1953 by then President Elpidio Quirino. This occasion was graced by prominent individuals both from government and private sectors, with no less than Ms. Kayoko Kano of Kano Art Promotion Foundation, daughter of Mr. Kanrai Kano, himself was a Japanese prisoner who tirelessly appealed to President Quirino (sending a total of 43 letters from 1949 until 1953) for the grant of clemency to all Japanese Prisoners. On the other hand, Atty. Aleli Angela Quirino, Ms. Cory Quirino and some members of the Quirino family represented the President Quirino Foundation.
In his speech at the ceremony, Ambassador KOSHIKAWA Kazuhiko, the Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, stated that President Quirino was among the many remarkable Filipinos who chose the path of peace and forgiveness over resentment and retaliation, despite experiencing tragic loss and heavy criticism from his fellowmen.
To quote from President Quirino’s Statement of Pardon of All Japanese War Criminals dated July 6, 1953, he said… “I have extended executive clemency to Japanese war prisoners serving terms in the Philippines not as an Amnesty which requires concurrence of the Philippine Congress. As my wife, three (3) of my children and five (5) other members of my family were murdered by the Japanese, I never imagined that I would forgive them. I am doing this because I DO NOT want my children and my people to inherit from me HATE towards people who may yet be our friends for the permanent interest of our country. After all, DESTINY has made us neighbors.”
Mr. Francis C. Laurel, President of the Philippines-Japan Society, Mr. Philip B. Sanvictores, President of the Nihongo Center Foundation and Ms. Glenda T. Ferma, Administrator of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation attended the event.