Fil-Ams suffer from attacks, harassment amid rising anti-Asian violence in US
MANILA, Philippines — Several Filipinos living in the United States were not exempted from the increasing cases of violent acts directed towards Asians in the country amid the ongoing global health pandemic.
Since February, there have been reports of Filipino-Americans who have been victims of an unprovoked assault. While most of them survived, an elderly Filipino man was killed in what was called an apparent “random attack” last month.
This surge in the number of violence, harassment, and discrimination – which does not only affect Filipino-Americans but also the whole Asian community in the country – has already been observed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
This has also triggered protests held by local community groups, activists, and policymakers in the U.S.
Activists have attributed these hate crimes against people of Asian descent to ex-president Donald Trump’s repeated references for COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” in his speeches.
Below is a look back at the series of attacks involving Filipino-Americans during the past weeks.
A 65-year-old Filipino-American woman was one of the most recent victims in the string of anti-Asian crimes across the United States.
In a CCTV footage released by New York police on Tuesday, an unidentified man can be seen kicking the victim in her stomach, which eventually knocked her to the ground.
The assailant kicked the elderly woman several times before leaving the area.
WANTED in connection to an assault. On Monday, March 29th at 11:40 AM, at 360 West 43rd St, a female, 65, was approached by an unidentified male who punched and kicked her about the body and made anti-Asian statements. Have Info? Call or DM☎️1-800-577-TIPS. Up to $2500 reward. pic.twitter.com/6gb5NDCZCA
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) March 30, 2021
The attack happened on Monday in broad daylight in Midtown Manhattan.
According to the NYPD, the attacker “made anti-Asian statements” towards the victim as he kicked her.
The force’s hate crime task is investigating the assault.
WANTED in connection to an assault. On Monday, March 29th at 11:40 AM, at 360 West 43rd St, a female, 65, was approached by an unidentified male who punched and kicked her about the body and made anti-Asian statements. Have Info? Call or DM☎️1-800-577-TIPS. Up to $2500 reward. pic.twitter.com/5Haz2ZHkdz
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) March 30, 2021
Danilo Yu Chang, 59, an American of Filipino Chinese extraction, was on his way back to his office when he was hit from behind and punched multiple times until he was unconscious.
The San Francisco police, later on, arrested the suspect identified as Jorge Devis-Milton.
“I got two black eyes, and I think my vision has come back on the right side, but the left is still– I cannot see from the left. They didn’t take anything. Everything is with me. I didn’t lose anything. I think this is a hate crime,” Chang said in an interview with ABC News.
While the attack happened amid the rise of hate crimes targeted towards Asian-Americans, the authorities said nothing indicated that the incident was motivated by racism.
Meanwhile, Alex Vidal was riding the New York City subway when suddenly another passenger, who thought Vidal was Chinese, started yelling at him.
Vidal recorded the incident and posted it on his social media account with the caption: “‘GO BACK TO CHINA BLAH BLAH BLAH.’ Calling the New York Police. This man inside the Brooklyn-bound F train has been yelling at me saying I’m “a Chinese” and was on the verge of attacking me.”
“I’m alone and a little bit scared but I’m watching his moves, including his hands to see if he carries a box cutter or any deadly weapon,” he added.
“GO BACK TO CHINA BLAH BLAH BLAH.’ Calling the New York Police. This man inside the Brooklyn-bound F train has been yelling at me saying I’m “a Chinese” and was on the verge of attacking me. I’m alone and a little bit scared but I’m watching his moves, including his hands to see if he carries a box cutter or any deadly weapon.
Posted by Alex Vidal on Friday, March 12, 2021
In his blog, Vidal said he considered himself “luckier” compared to the members of the Asian community who were killed at the shootings in Atlanta on March 17, five days after he was verbally assaulted inside the subway.
On this day, two separate attacks on two Filipino-American residents occurred in Arizona and California.
A severely injured 74-year-old man identified as Juanito Falcon was discovered by the police on a parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in the area of 17th Avenue and Bethany Home on Feb. 16.
Falcon was punched in the face, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the pavement. According to hospital staff, he had sustained a fractured skull, was bleeding in the brain, and was rushed to surgery.
Unfortunately, Falcon died two days later on Feb. 18 due to blunt force trauma.
The assailant was arrested on March 3 but the police have yet to determine the motive for the attack.
On the other hand, local store owner Marc Quidit, 49, was vacuuming his store when two hooded and masked men barged in and shot him several times before fleeing the scene.
Quidit had to undergo surgery to remove the bullets in his body. While he was reported to be recovering well after starting his physical therapy, he remains in critical condition.
His shooter remains at large.
Meanwhile, the victim’s family is not certain if they were purposefully attacked because they are Asian.
In San Diego, Califonia, a Filipino woman was reportedly attacked on a trolley for no reason at all.
While on his way to work, 61-year-old Noel Quintana was slashed across the face inside a subway train after an argument with another man.
Quintana told ABC7 Eyewitness News that the attacker was kicking his backpack during the commute. When Quintana asked him to stop, the man struck him and ran away when the train stopped at First Avenue and 14th Street.
Although he received several stitches due to his injury, Quintana is in stable condition after the incident.
Based on a report by the NYPD presented in September last year, the anti-Asian hate crimes rose to an astonishing 1,900% in New York City alone in 2020 amid the pandemic.
The Philippine Embassy in the United States has earlier advised Filipinos to exercise “utmost caution.”
“We note with concern the rise in attacks on Asian Americans in various parts of the United States,” the embassy said in a statement on February 26.
“Filipinos are advised to exercise utmost caution in view of these incidents,” it added.
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Romualdez previously called the attention of the United States Department of State as well as several American senators on the rise of anti-Asian attacks there.
“We are very concerned about it. We already called the attention of the State Department at sinabi namin sa kanila na mukhang binibiktima yung mga Asian Americans dahil ang tawag nga ng gobyerno dito noon ay ‘China virus’,” said Romualdez in an interview on March 1.
(We are very concerned about it. We already called the attention of the State Department and told them about this rising number of victims of anti-Asian attacks, the government before referred to Covid-19 as the ‘China virus.’)
“Siyempre marami sa ating mga kababayan na may lahing Chinese…they were taken advantage of, pero yung malaking incident na nangyari sa New York, yung ini-slash. ‘Yan talagang medyo matindi so we were really concerned about it,” he added.
(A lot of our fellow Filipinos here have Chinese ancestry…they were taken advantage of, but a prominent incident was the one in New York, the slashing incident. That’s really extreme so we were really concerned about it.)
According to Romualdez, there are 4.5 million Filipino-Americans in the U.S..
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