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Joe Biden courts the Filipino-American vote

White House hopeful Joe Biden vowed to "work alongside" the Filipino-American community in the United States as he paid tribute to the contributions of its members serving as frontline workers during the pandemic.

The former US vice president made this statement on Friday, October 2, at the start of the Filipino-American History Month, which commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in America.

"During Filipino-American History Month, we celebrate the community's immense contributions to our country – from early immigrants to the millions today, many who serve in the military or as frontline workers," said Biden, challenger of US President Donald Trump.

"As President, I'll work alongside them to protect the American people," he added. 

Why Biden courts the Fil-Am vote

Biden, unlike Trump, courts the vote of Filipino-Americans who form the 4th largest migrant group in the US as the stakes grow higher in the 2020 US presidential election. 

The Democratic candidate had earlier promised to implement a "fair and humane immigration system" and said he would "work to heal the wounds inflicted on immigrant communities" by the Trump administration. 

Over the weekend, Dr Jill Biden likewise held a private conversation with Filipino-Americans supporting the Biden-Harris 2020 ticket where she spoke about the plight of veterans, nurses, and other health care workers part of the community. 

The group Filipino-Americans for #BidenHarris2020 cited her as having honored the contributions of Filipino health workers during the pandemic. 

"In one of our darkest times, this community is answering a call to service. You are leading us forward," the Fil-Am group quoted her as saying.

Filipino nurses have been one of the hardest-hit groups in the US' pandemic, representing some 4% of the sector's workforce in the country, yet comprising over 30% of its COVID-19 nurse deaths. 

Biden's appeal to the Filipino-American community comes only a few weeks before Election Day on November 3, 2020. The momentous race, which comes amid a soaring pandemic, has become increasingly precarious after Trump tested positive for the virus. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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