MANILA - The Philippine Embassy in the United States has urged Filipinos there to "exercise utmost caution" due to a "rise in attacks on Asian Americans" in various states amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Filipinos are advised to exercise utmost caution in view of these incidents," the Embassy said in the statement released Thursday (Friday in Manila).
"Those who experience attacks are advised to immediately call 911 to report incidents," it said.
While the Philippine Embassy and its consulates "appreciate the swift action taken... to apprehend perpetrators of these attacks," it called on US authorities to "further ensure the protection of persons of Asian descent, including Filipinos."
Earlier this month, a 61-year-old Filipino was slashed on his face with a box cutter and was left bleeding inside a subway train in New York.
The victim, Filipino administrative assistant Noel Quintana, told ABS-CBN News that before the incident, he was just minding his business inside a busy subway train when the assailant for no reason started kicking his tote bag.
The New York City Police Department described the assailant as a 20 to 30-year-old male with black afro hair.
Quintana's case is among the "numerous unprovoked attacks against Asian-Americans, particularly older people" committed recently, international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch said.
"Former President Donald Trump fueled anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic by using discriminatory rhetoric to describe the coronavirus, and may have contributed to the racist and violent attacks across the United States," the group said in a statement published on its website.
Around 2,800 anti-Asian hate incidents have been documented in the US between March and December 2020, the HRW said, citing a recent study.
Most of the victims are old people, it said.
While US President Joe Biden "signed a memorandum denouncing the Trump administration’s discriminatory sentiments directed at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community," authorities should "turn their attention towards this human rights issue... to combat anti-Asian violence and reimagine community safety," it said.
"Federal and local agencies need to do more work with communities to combat racism," the HRW said.
"The richest country in the world should not leave its most vulnerable communities to fend for themselves, especially during a major crisis."