MANILA— A Filipino nurse in New York on Tuesday shared her experience of being victim of a hate crime while on the subway and urged those with similar ordeals to come forward and tell their stories.
Potri Ranka Manis said Filipinos who became victims of assault are afraid to speak up about their experience because of fear of reprisal. This, as reports of hate crime against Asians in the US continue.
“The more na itatago itong pambubugbog sa atin, the more tayong aapihin. Kailangan to bring this out in the open so that we can rally behind this and this will make people aware that this should not happen, dapat i-correct,” she said.
(The more we keep this to ourselves the more they will continue to oppress us. We need to bring this out in the open so that we can rally behind this and this will make people aware that this should not happen, it should be corrected.)
In an interview on TeleRadyo, the Pinay nurse narrated that she was on an E train from work when the assault happened on August 10. She usually carries spare masks placed inside individual envelopes which she distributes to subway passengers.
“Marami namang natutuwa sa mga binibigyan ko except for this recent incident. Umupo sila sa tabi ko, wala nang social distancing sa subway. Binigyan ko ng mask at bigla siyang tumayo, mag-asawa sila na merong anak na nasa stroller. Biglang tumayo 'yung lalaki, hinablot 'yung envelope na may mask sa kamay ko at itinapon at sumigaw-sigaw sa akin. 'Mind your own business Chink. Get out of this train, you Chinese, go back home to your dirty country',” she recalled.
(Many were happy with it except for this recent incident. A couple with a baby in a stroller sat beside me disregarding social distancing. I handed them a mask but the man stood up, snatched the mask from my hand and threw it and started shouting at me. 'Mind your own business, chink, Get out of this train, you Chinese, go back home to your dirty country.')
The man was about to take her bag where she kept the masks but a fellow passenger managed to hold and pacify him. But the man’s wife stood up and proceeded to physically attack the Pinay nurse.
“Nakakalungkot pati sumisigaw na ako ng tulong, walang tumulong. Tapos nung nag-stop na 'yung train, nagbukas na 'yung door, pine-press ko 'yung emergency button ng subway tatawag ng emergency health tapos kinuha ko phone ko sa bag para tatawag ako ng 911 hinablot ng lalaki 'yung phone, itinakbo. Hate crime na, theft pa,” she said.
(The sad part was I was already asking for help, but nobody came to my rescue. When the train stopped and the door opened, I pressed the emergency button and took my phone from my bag to call 911 but the man snatched my phone and fled. So it was a hate crime and theft at the same time.)
She never thought that she’d experience such an attack first hand.
“After I was assaulted in the subway natatakot na akong maglakad at iniisip ko baka bugbugin ako (I was afraid to take a walk out of fear of being assaulted again)."
Philippine Consul General in New York Elmer Cato said they immediately made a followup with the New York Police after the incident and even issued an advisory to Filipinos to be vigilant.
Cato said that several incidents happened just after their fellowship with police and Filipino-Americans. The anti-hate crime desk said incidents involving Asians have gone down compared to previous months.
“Just two days after 'yung fellowship namin with them, we had our fist incident, theater actor Miguel Braganza was attacked nung pauwi siya sa bahay niya sa upper West Side sa Uber, inabangan siya ng dalawang lalaki at tinutukan ng baril, pinukpok sa ulo while he refused to give his bag at sinabi sa kanya, idinescribe siya as ‘F’ Asian. Nung una, ‘di namin alam na may racial color 'yung incident, nasabi lang sa akin ni Miguel the other day may sinabi sa kanya,” Cato said.
(Just two days after the fellowship with them, we had our first incident, theater actor Miguel Braganza was attacked while coming home in the upper West Side on an Uber. Two men waited for him and held him at gunpoint, they hit his head with a gun when he refused to give his bag and the assailants described him as ‘F’ Asian. At first we didn’t know that the incident had racial color until Miguel told us about what was said to him the other day.)
The incident involving Potri happened just days later.
Cato said the month of April had the most number of hate incidents involving Asians at 52. Since that month, they have been working with the community, issuing advisories and even conducting self-defense workshops to raise the level of awareness.
In New York alone, Cato said they had 18 incidents reported to the consulate. But he said there are many victims who still refuse to report.
He said many of those involved in hate crime are mostly homeless individuals, as 40 percent of the homeless in New York have mental health issues.
He likewise noted that Filipinos are not being targeted but are mistaken as Chinese.
“And Chinese, based on statistics, accounted for the most number of hate incidents US-wide, susunod d'yan mga Koreans and number 3, mga Pilipino (next are Koreans and third are Filipinos),” he said.
Hate crime against Asians rose in the wake of former US president Donald Trump's rhetoric against the Chinese over the spread of COVID-19.