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Binay hits slur on Philippine nurses

Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday denounced Washington, DC council member Marion Barry for allegedly racist remarks against Filipino nurses working in US hospitals.

Describing Barry’s comments as “ill-informed” and “unfortunate,” Binay said in a statement it was  unfortunate that such negative sentiments would come from an American public official.

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Binay took offense at Barry’s observation in a council budget hearing on Monday that US hospitals were teeming with immigrant nurses.

“It’s so bad that if you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines,” Barry said. “Let’s grow our own nurses… so that we don’t have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places, having to hire people from somewhere else.”

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Binay, who is also the government’s housing czar and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns, said Barry “needs to be reminded that the United States is a nation built on the sacrifices of immigrants.”

He noted that Filipino nurses “have contributed greatly to providing health services to millions of Americans.”

“Filipino nurses are recognized for their dedication to their work and the special care and attention they provide to their patients. Public officials like the former mayor should recognize that,” said Binay.

On Wednesday, Philippine Ambassador  to the United States Jose Cuisia condemned Barry’s comments, calling them “intolerant and narrow-minded.”

Cuisia also criticized Barry’s “penchant for blaming Asians,” saying it “fuels racism, discrimination and violence.”

The National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (Naffaa) and the Migrant Heritage Commission, both based in the US capital, assailed Barry for his “racist and bigoted” statements.

Naffaa chair Ed Navarra said they “reject this continued Asian bashing by elected officials like Mr. Barry and demand that he apologize for his insensitive and irresponsible remarks.”

The group also asked Barry to “engage in a meaningful dialogue with our community so we can better educate the broader American public about the significant contributions that our diverse immigrant communities have made to this country.”

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TAGS: Jejomar Binay, Marion Barry, nurse, OFW, Racism
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