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Pinoy Abroad

Philippine ambassador asks US authorities to intensify efforts vs. hate crimes

Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez said he had called on law enforcers in the United States to intensify their efforts on hate crimes after several Filipinos fell victim over the past months.

Romualdez issued the remark in a Super Radyo dzBB interview after two more Filipinos were attacked in separate incidents in midtown Manhattan, bringing the total attacks against Filipinos in New York this year to six cases.

Due to this, Philippine Consulate General in New York General Elmer Cato said some Filipinos were now afraid to walk alone and ride on subways where harassment and assaults were reported.

Romualdez said many Filipinos out of fear now opt to bring their cars or take taxis even if parking fees and cab fare were pricey.

“Pero hindi pwedeng ganon lagi na lang. So we’re doing what we can to help them also. Talagang fino-force natin ‘yung mga police at law enforcement na kailangan medyo bigyan naman nila itong tumataas na hate crimes,” Romualdez said.

(This can't always be the case. So, we’re doing what we can to help them also. We are really forcing the police and law enforcement to look into these rising hate crime incidents.)

He saod that once he gets to verify that the incidents are tagged as hate crimes, he will send a diplomatic note to the State department to enforce new measures, like deploying undercover agents, to ensure the Filipino’s safety, especially in subways.

“Diyan sa subway talagang delikado talaga. Maraming nangyayaring insidenteng ganyan hindi lang sa mga Asians. Mga medyo may problema sa buhay, bigla na lang tinutulak nila ‘yung mga nakikita nila na nakatayo lang diyan. ‘Yan ang nakakatakot,” he said.

(The subway is really dangerous. There are many incidents like that that happened not just among Asians. Those who have some problems in life suddenly push those they see just standing there. That’s scary.)

He then asked the Filipinos to bring a companion with them when going in subways as many are really victimized in such areas.

Romualdez furthered that COVID-19 has prompted several Americans to resort to hate crimes as many of them lost their jobs amid the pandemic. They also generalized the whole Asian community as coming from China where the first COVID-19 case was detected.

“Actually ang nagpaakyat ng hate crimes dito sa America itong COVID. Talagang maraming syempre frustrated dahil dalawang taon, mahigit magtatatlong taon na naghihirap ang mga tao in the sense na maraming nawalan ng trabaho, mga frustrated. Ang mga Amerikano, hindi sila sanay sa ganitong buhay na hindi sila makalabas o makagalaw. Hirap na hirap sia ganiyang sitwasyon,” he said.

“Ang tinitignan nila ang galing talaga sa China pero ang tingin nila lahat ng Asian ay nagdala ng virus,” he added.

(Actually, it is the COVID-19 that has increased the number of hate crimes here in America. Many are frustrated because they have been suffering for two to three years now in the sense that they have lost their jobs. Americans are not used to this life that they cannot get out or move. It’s such a difficult situation for them. What they are looking at is actually from China but they think all Asians have brought the virus to the US.)

Apart from self-defense webinars, several “Stop Asian Hate” posters have been placed at the consular office in New York.

The Filipino and Asian community will also hold a rally in Manhattan to condemn the attacks against them, which were reported since the COVID-19 surge. —NB, GMA News