by Jim Bea Sampaga
In partnership with the Philippine Embassy in USA and the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), GMA Pinoy TV hosted a virtual town hall event on March 26 in support of the #StopAsianHate campaign.
The event date coincides with the 231st anniversary of the Naturalization Act of 1790, a law that granted individuals US citizenship by naturalization.
The 1-hour panel discussion, titled “Here Now, Hear Now: Confronting anti-Asian Hate,” tackled the dehumanization of Asian Americans. Panelists explored scenarios to understand the themes behind the recent attacks against Asian and Asian Americans. The panel was hosted by veteran Filipino journalist Howie Severino.
Joseph T. Francia, GMA International First Vice President and Head of Operations, expressed GMA Pinoy TV’s stance to call an end to hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
“We are indeed #StrongerTogether as we support the continuing struggle towards respect and recognition in multicultural America,” Francia said.
To address the issue, the Philippines Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said the embassy they are working closely with authorities in Washington, D.C.
“We will continue to do what we can and informing the authorities here in Washington D.C. especially paying attention to the kind of hate crimes that are being committed,” the ambassador said.“We’re going to have a meeting with the White House and we have all collectively agreed that we are going to enforce.”Moreover, Romualdez reminded Filipinos in the US to stay vigilant and always start recording with their mobile phones.
“Try to take a photo as quickly as possible, but do not confront them because they could turn violent. Actually, when you report it to the authorities, they can immediately identify them at least from the video, and that they will be able to use this as evidence. Again, it is a crime to throw racial slurs against fellow Americans, especially the anti-hate crimes and anything related to that is a federal crime,” he suggested.
During the virtual townhall, Filipino American leaders highlighted ways the Asian American community can bring awareness and combat discrimination.
As Ambassador Romualdez encouraged the use of mobile phones to document incidents, journalist Leezel Tanglao shared how the media can bring awareness to these situations and its victims.
“When you look at that coverage of who got the most coverage, you know, the victims were always seemed to be secondary,” she explained.
When it comes to properly addressing and improving the situation, leaders must listen to the people and create policies that will stop discrimination and racism, Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism motivational speaker Tony Dela Rosa shared.
“We need action. Make sure your statement matches your actions, and we really want to focus on actions,” Dela Rosa said. “If you’re the top of the leadership and listen to us we can tell you what we need.”
FYLPRO President Louella Cabalona promised to continue highlighting the stories of Filipino and Filipino Americans overcoming racism.
“I think it’s very important for everybody listening today who have families in their homes that are older to make sure that they include them in the conversation and also urge them to report these crimes,” Cabalona explained.
“So this forum itself… we’re amplifying the voices of these great leaders.”
by Jim Bea Sampaga