Vice-president Leni Robredo called the increasing number of violent acts against people of Asian descent in the United States “appalling” as she asked US President Joe Biden to take steps to protect Asians and minority groups, particularly Filipino-Americans.
This was after Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. , reacting to the brutal attack on a 65-year-old Filipina in New York City, warned that the assault could bring a change in the Philippine’s foreign policy with the US.
The US is currently wooing the Philippines for the resumption of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which President Duterte earlier scrapped but later suspended extended. Reports filtering out of the State Department has it that the US wants to bring back its bases in Subic.
“This (New York attack) is gravely noted and will influence Philippine foreign policy. 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,” Locsin said on Twitter.
A police video and another video taken by a bystander showed the Filam woman was attacked in broad daylight by a man in midtown Manhattan.
The attacker, who has been identified and wanted by the New York police, yelled, “You don’t belong here,” then kicked the woman several times on the head and stomach.
No one came to the victim’s aid. A doorman who witnessed the attack in front of the building where it happened closed the door on her.
“It might be noted in this context that when anti-Japanese sentiment ran high in China, and a Filipino family mistaken for Japanese on the street were killed, it was clearly not tolerated because when it spread to Filipino factories the owner got a call from the People’s Liberation Army unit commander, ‘Just to let you know, your factories across China (nine) are surrounded by PLA units and the Filipino barracks are likewise secure,'” Locsin said.
“The answer to racism has to be police/military; not understanding. Racists understand only force.”
In a statement Monday, Robredo said the recent attacks against Asian Americans are “deeply concerning, and an appalling turn of events.”
“At a time when the world should come together in solidarity against the greater threat of the pandemic, Asians, some of them Filipinos, have been singled out as targets of rage and racial hatred,” Robredo said.
“This has contributed to a climate of growing fear in an atmosphere already made volatile by COVID-19,” she added.
Last week, a 65-year-old Filipina was brutally attacked on a sidewalk near Times Square in New York City by a man while making anti-Asian remarks. The man, who was out on parole for killing his mother, was arrested, and charged with a hate crime.
The incident also sparked widespread outrage after bystanders from a nearby apartment building were seen just watching the attack and closing the door when the woman struggled to stand up.
In February, a 61-year-old Filipino was attacked with a box cutter while riding the New York City subway.
On the same attack, Robredo stressed that “hatred has no place in any society that wishes to heal.”
“I am hopeful that the United States government, under the leadership of President Joseph Biden Jr., will help ensure the safety of all Asians and minority groups, even as it works to address the deeper issues of racism and racial violence,” Robredo said.
“Towards this common goal, we stand as allies of the American people, behind a long history of friendship and a shared commitment to upholding democratic values and the dignity of every human being,” she added.