Filipinos urged to be vigilant, cautious to avoid hate crimes
“What is required are sustained efforts to talk about the issue and dismantle pre-conceived views about AAPI through education. This should be a community effort, one which the Consulate would like to be involved with,” said Consul General Neil Ferrer. “It would be useful to have knowledge on personal safety, security and self-defense or to be equip with gadgets such as personal alarm and pepper spray,” he added.
“The Consulate constantly monitors the issue, notes, and reports Anti-Asian hate incidents to Manila and usually contacts the concerned Filipino American if his or her contact details are available, and inquires how the Consulate could help,” Ferrer said. “As a standard practice, we reach out to the Police Department where the hate crime/incident happened and request for more information. Due to restrictions on the Police Department’s policy, however, only those information that can be legally shared to the public are provided, such as whether the elements of a hate crime existed in a particular case and what the suspect was arrested for.”
Moreover, due to the strong data privacy laws in the U.S. and restrictions on the Police Department’s policy, it has been difficult to obtain information on the victims, much less on the status of their cases, Ferrer said.
“Our Consulate has written to local officials in our jurisdiction, particularly those where incidents of attacks against persons of Filipino descent have taken place. We have requested these officials to strengthen efforts to ensure the security and protection of people of Asian descent, including Filipinos and Filipino Americans,” said Ferrer. “In 2021, the Consulate met with San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott to personally convey its concerns regarding anti-Asian hate.”
As to actually helping the victims, the Consulate provides assistance to nationals in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the Department of Foreign Affairs. he added.
In a study made by AAPI Data in 2021, the reasons cited for AAPIs’ reluctance in reporting hate incidents to local authorities include fear of retaliation; a lack of confidence that justice will be served by local authorities and courts; and the concern about bringing undue attention to themselves and their families.
To somehow assuage fears/hesitations of some victims to report hate incidents/crimes, the Consulate said it believes that it is only through a sustained push from the community that systemic and lasting outcomes can be effected.
“Reporting such incidents to authorities is crucial in addressing the matter. It is heartening to witness efforts being done by the community to address this issue. These initiatives embody the bayanihan spirit that is kept alive by the Filipino-American community,” Ferrer said. “We have seen Filipino-American community leaders and advocates organize events to raise awareness so that leaders and officials could be informed of the gravity of the situation and the importance which the community attaches to this issue.”
The Consulate also observed that lawyers, firms, and legal associations and organizations have set up free legal clinics to assist victims and their families, martial-arts groups have organized free self-defense classes to empower our community and there are many others who have stepped up to assist.
It is believed that hate crimes do not only cause harm to an individual’s physical health but also to one’s psychological or mental health.
Many of the hate crime victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which may include anxiety, fear, avoidance and isolation, and in some instances, hyper-vigilance.
Thus, aside from reporting the hate incidence/crime to the police authorities, the Consulate directs an individual to avail himself of mental health and behavioral services that are available in their area.
“We urge the community to report any incident of hate crime they witness or experience. Addressing crime is not the sole responsibility of the police authorities. Each of us can contribute to our community’s peace and security,” Ferrer stated.
The Consulate also highly suggests that the person reports it to the police authorities. Filipino Americans can also report the incident to the Philippine Consulate, to Philippine media or to StopAAPI Hate (https://stopaapihate.org/). Your report contributes to the extent of the pervasiveness of hate incidents/crime in your area, which can be used as basis for any actions or advocacy needed to address the issue.
According to SFPD, if there is an assault or potential hate crime, it should be reported by calling 911 or 415-553-0123 (if incident is in in San Francisco).
For multilingual tip line for reporting crimes, including hate crimes, reports can be made by calling (415) 558-5588 and press: 4 if callers wish to speak in Tagalog language. Tip line callers may always remain anonymous.