Philippine Consul Gen. Elmer Cato told GMA News’ Dobol B TV, the Philippine Consulate in New York, “By now, we should have siguro mga 18 cases of anti-Asian incidents reported to the Consulate since the start of the year,” Cato said.
“(A lot of Asian hate crimes) have taken place already in (other states) pero dito sa New York mas prominente,” he added.
Two recent incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes involving Filipinos have been reported in the past week in New York, with Filipina nurse Potri Ranka Manis sustaining bruises after being attacked while distributing face masks to subway commuters while theater actor Miguel Braganza was mugged on his way to his apartment.
Cato said the two cases were isolated, noting New York is also experiencing a surge in gun violence incidents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“‘Yung sinasabi natin dito, these are isolated cases — sporadic, unprovoked incidents — that take place in any city, any country, in the world where medyo mataas ang crime rate,” he said.
“Hindi natin ma-pre-predict kung sino matatamaan,” he added.
Cato also confirmed the New York Police Department (NYPD) noted that anti-Asian hate crimes “died down” prior to Braganza’s assault.
“‘Yung anti-Asian American Hate Crime desk ng NYPD sabi bumaba na so we were surprisedthat these cases happened,” Cato said.
In June, a 52-year-old Filipino-American man was repeatedly punched in the face at a subway station in Manhattan while witnessing another man being assaulted when he got off the train at 103rd Street station on the Upper East Side.
“We strongly condemn this latest anti-Asian hate crime that targeted a member of the Filipino Community in New York City. We again call on authorities to take the necessary steps to protect members of the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Community,” Cato said in a statement.
According to a report by ABC 7 New York, the suspect turned to the Fil-Am after his first victim escaped, shouting “go back to where you came from” and anti-Asian slurs.
A Philippine Consular officer based in New York was also verbally assaulted on a train on the same month, asked by the assailant where she was from in anger and told “We don’t need you here! F**ck you! I hope you all die and everybody on this train.”
“We call on authorities of New York City to take additional measures to make our kababayan and other Asian-Americans feel safe when outside their homes by increasing police presence especially in the subways,” Cato said, noting it was the 14th attack against a Filipino reported to the Consulate during that time.
Last April, the assault of a 65-year-old Filipino American in Manhattan was caught on tape. The attacker was out on parole for killing his mother and will now face 25 years in prison.
In a report by CNN Philippines, US President Joe Biden signed a bill called the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in May to “create a new position at the Justice Department to expedite review of potential COVID-19-related hate crimes and incidents reported at the federal, state or local level.”
In a Facebook post on August 7, following the mugging of Braganza, the Philippine Consulate reminded Filipinos in New York to “always be vigilant when outside their residences especially during the evenings, in view of the rising criminality and violence in the city.”