Philippines-US relations

Locsin: Attacks vs Filipinos in US to ‘influence PH foreign policy’

Sofia Tomacruz

'GRAVELY NOTED.' File photo of Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr at the Department of Foreign Affairs in June 2020.

File photo from DFA

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr describes a recent attack against an elderly Filipino-American in New York City as 'enraging'

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr denounced a recent brutal attack against an elderly Filipino-American in New York City, saying such incidents were “gravely noted” and would influence Philippine foreign policy.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, March 31, Locsin described the attack against the 65-year-old Filipino as “enraging.” The woman had reportedly been on her way to church when a man “punched and kicked her about the body,” the New York Police Department (NYPD) said. 

The woman, who suffered facial swelling and pain in the left leg, was brought to New York University’s Langone Hospital and is said to be in stable condition.

“This is gravely noted and will influence Philippine foreign policy,” Locsin said, adding “I might as well say it, so no one on the other side can say, “We didn’t know you took racial brutality against Filipinos at all seriously.” We do.” 

The attack comes as anti-Asian American crimes in the US have escalated in recent weeks.

The recent attack on the elderly Filipino-American in New York sparked widespread outrage after bystanders who witnessed the attack from a nearby building were seen on footage just watching the incident, and closing the door instead of helping the woman who was being kicked repeatedly.

Police officials said that the suspect cursed at the woman and said, “You don’t belong here.”

The organization which owned the luxury building said the staff who witnessed the attack has been “suspended pending an investigation in conjunction with their union.”

The Philippines earlier sent a note verbale to the United States calling its attention to the rising number of attacks on Asian Americans. The move came after the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs urged US authorities to “ensure the protection” of Asian Americans amid rising attacks against members of the community, including Filipinos, during the pandemic. 

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Elderly Filipino-American woman attacked in New York City

Elderly Filipino-American woman attacked  in New York City

Philippine Ambassador to the United State Jose Manuel “Babe” Romuladez said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency that the the Philippine Consulate in New York was in touch with the Filipino-American who was attacked. 

Romuladez said the Philippines, along with other Southeast Asian diplomates in the US, have registered their “strongest concern” to the White House about these hate crimes. 

A Stop Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate report tallied 3,796 anti-Asian hate incidents from the beginning of the pandemic last year until February 28, 2021. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.