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PHL envoy: US govt official's racist remarks vs. Pinoy nurses 'deplorable'

April 26, 2012 4:30pm

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. described as "deplorable" the remarks of a US government official criticizing hospitals that hired Filipino nurses.

Washington, D.C. Councilmember Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr., 76, on April 5 was caught on WRC-TV cameras saying: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

A report of the Washington Post said Barry, on April 6, apologized for his remarks via Twitter, saying: "I admit, I could and should have said it differently. But the facts are still very present in our daily lives here."

In a statement posted on the embassy website on Tuesday, Cuisia said: "The remarks of District of Columbia Councilmember Marion Barry criticizing local hospitals for hiring Filipino nurses are deplorable."
 
"This is not the first time such intolerant and narrow-minded comments came from him. Just three weeks ago, he made the prejudiced observation that Asian-owned businesses were 'dirty shops,'" Cuisia added.

The ambassador said Barry owed Filipino nurses an apology for his "recent tirade."

"Councilmember Barry’s penchant for blaming Asians, who only want to work for their American dream, fuels racism, discrimination, and violence," Cuisia said.

"Such rhetoric does nothing but harm relations among community members, when the times call for developing relationships and finding solutions to common challenges," Cuisia added.

The ambassador noted how the "Philippine nursing profession grew to become a major player in the global healthcare market when it became the biggest supplier of registered nurses due to the global nursing shortage."

"Filipino nurses are known to be competent, hardworking, caring, and possess good work ethic. These are some of the reasons why most patients prefer and trust them. Like many good citizens, they pay their taxes and contribute to the American economy," Cuisia said.

Barry is described as the first prominent civil-rights activist to become chief executive of a major American city. He has served as mayor of the District of Columbia, and later as a representative of Washinton D.C.'s Ward 8.

In the 1990s, he made headlines when Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested him over drug charges. - VVP, GMA News