February 22, 2021 at 12:55 am
Rey E. Requejo
All Filipinos in the United States have been urged to exercise caution and vigilance after the US Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin on the so-called “heightened threat environment” in America following the January 21 inauguration of President Joe Biden.
In an advisory posted in its website, the Philippine Consulate General’s office in Los Angeles urged all Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in Southern California, Southern Nevada and the State of Arizona to be vigilant and exercise precautions following a “heightened threat environment” across the US.
“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objection to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the consular advisory said, citing a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin issued by the US Department of Homeland Security.
The NTAS bulletin takes effect from January 27, 2021, to April 30, 2021.
“Filipinos and Filipino-Americans are therefore advised to exercise vigilance, take safety precautions, avoid areas of protests, heed local government bulletins and carry emergency and medical contact details,” the consulate said.
On January 6, 2021, hundreds of pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed the US Congress building on Capitol Hill that resulted in the death of four people and forcing lawmakers to evacuate to safety, including then Vice President Mike Pence.
The US Department of Homeland Security has raised concern that a range of issues that motivated Domestic Violent Extremists will remain through early 2021 and some may be emboldened by the Jan. 6 insurrection in the US Capitol to target elected officials and government facilities.
Among the issues that may drive the so-called DVEs to carry out violence includes anger over the COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and the police’s use of force.
Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate expressed concern on the increasing incidents of attacks and racial slurs against Asian Americans.
The group said it received more than 2,808 first-hand reports of anti-Asian hate across 47 states and Washington, D.C., from March 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.
Data gathered by the AAPI for the nine months in 2020 showed that roughly 71 percent were cases of verbal harassment while shunning or avoidance made up about 21 percent. About 9 percent of the incidents involved physical assaults and 6 percent included being spit on.
An elderly Filipino woman was attacked while on a San Diego trolley last week. Witnesses helped her report the incident while she was being treated in a local hospital.
In a separate incident in New York City, 61-year old Filipino-American Noel Quintana was slashed in the face with a box cutter inside a subway train while his assailant later escaped.