Senior citizens and medical professionals comprise a “significant portion” of victims in the recent spate of discrimination against Filipinos in the United States (US), at least based on records of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve been receiving cases through the different foreign service posts like in LA (Los Angeles), New York, and Washington. One of the targets is our medical professionals,” Labor Attaché in Washington Angela Librado-Trinidad told Manila-based reporters in mixed Filipino and English during a virtual press briefing on Friday, June 11. The briefing was organized by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“A significant portion of them are seniors and medical professionals. Because usually they are the ones seen outdoors because of their work and their functions,” said Trinidad, who was asked for updates regarding the wave of “Asian hate”-related attacks.
“We received a similar report from one island in the Caribbean Islands. They feel that they are being discriminated against because they are Filipinos and Asians,” she said.
“This [kind of discrimination] has been going on even before, but it’s highlighted because of COVID (coronavirus disease),” noted the POLO official.
“We’ve talked to the PMAA (Professional Management Advisors Associates) and they’ve been very active in the campaign to combat and how to cope with these issues. We sought the help of different agencies through our Philippine Embassy,” Trinidad bared.
She said physical attacks are the worst in terms of types of discrimination suffered by Filipinos in the US. “We’ve received reports of people just walking, and then they get punched.” When asked for figures on the acts of discrimination that they’ve received, Trinidad said, “Not more than a hundred.” “Because of this ‘Asian hate’ thing, [Filipinos] themselves are exercising restraint. We’ve spoken to others and they say they wear shades on the train even if it’s not sunny,” she said.
“Para hindi mahalata na ang kanilang mga mata ay Asian or Filipino. Sa mata daw kasi nakikita kung medyo chinito or Asian (This is to avoid having their eyes recognized as Asian or Filipino. The eyes supposedly give away your race, if you have the eyes of an Asian),” she explained.
Trinidad said not all victims of discrimination file complaints before the POLO.
“We received one report but the family neither wanted to confirm nor want to be interviewed. We understand that. Our foreigner service posts are monitoring it.” Trinidad further said: “The Philippine Embassy has sent a strong message, even a letter of concern to all the respective agencies here [in the US].”