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Government yet to build statue for independence heroines

Dili Weekly - January 24, 2017

Paulina Quintao – The Timor-Leste government has yet to build a statue honoring women who struggled for the country's independence.

The Secretary of State for the Socio-Economic Support of Women (SEM), Veneranda Lemos, said the government has plans to build the statue, but the project had not got off the ground because of a lack of funding.

"We have thought to value our heroines and we should establish the monument for them, but not now," she said after participating at celebrations to mark the 4th national women's day at the National Parliament.

She said SEM had presented its proposal to a meeting of the Council of Ministers for consideration in the 2018 budget.

According to the plan, a statue of well-known resistance fighter Maria Tapo will be constructed as a representative of the women who struggled and died for the country's independence.

The late Maria Tapo was shot by the Indonesian army on in November 3, 1975 in Tapo suku (village) in Bobonaro municipality after it was attacked by troops.

Meanwhile, the President of Timor-Leste Parliamentary Women's Group (GMPTL), Florentina Smith said the government did not yet place a high enough value on the role of women during the struggle for independence.

"Sometimes, we talk about the heroes, [both] women and men [and] we uphold the men but not women," she said.

However, as a woman, she said she was proud of the government's initiative to construct a statue to honor the heroines and that GMPTL supported the project and was ready to approve the funding when the government proposes it in the general state budget.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/14263-government-yet-to-build-statue-for-independence-heroines