Philippines sends note verbale to US as hate crimes vs Asian Americans surge

The Philippines has sent a note verbale to the United States calling its attention to the rising number of attacks on Asian Americans.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez said this in a media interview a couple of days 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.

“We were really very concerned about it so just about a week ago, I sent a note verbale to the State Department and I wrote letters to some senators…. I wrote to them calling their attention. Medyo matindi na 'yung mga gingagawa dito sa mga Asian Americans dito sa America (What's happening to Asian Americans here in the US has gotten intense),” Romualdez said in an interview with Teleradyo on Monday, March 1.

Romualdez recalled the attack against Filipino American Noel Quintana – a fellow subway passenger slashed his face with a box cutter in New York, after Quintana confronted him for kicking his bag that was on the floor.

Romualdez said the Philippines first called attention to the safety of Asian Americas in September 2020, when it noted that more crimes were reported after US officials led by then-president Donald Trump referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus.” 

Trump continued to make the reference despite criticism and reports that it fueled discrimination and attacks against Asian Americans.

“We told them that it looks like Asian Americans are being victimized because the government then had called it (COVID-19) the ‘China virus.’ Of course many of our fellow countrymen here have Chinese heritage so they were taking advantage of that,” Romualdez said in Filipino. 

Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition formed to record attacks and acts of discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic, received 2,808 first-hand accounts of anti-Asian hate from
47 states and the District of Columbia.

Based on the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data for 2018, there are over 4 million Filipinos in the US, mostly in California. – 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.

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