PH Consulate warns Fil-Ams in NY to be more vigilant after 2 community members assaulted

Philippine Consulate General in New York | AJPress file photo by Momar G. Visaya

MORE than a week after he was mugged at gunpoint right in front of his apartment in New York, Miguel Braganza is fighting the trauma brought about by the incident as he is left looking for a possible silver lining.

“Maybe God is using me to warn our kababayans and everybody to be extra careful especially now that crime rate in the city is increasing,” he told the Asian Journal. “There’s so much hate and desperation.”

Miguel Braganza Photo courtesy of Miguel Braganza Facebook account

Braganza, a stage actor and director, was steps away from his apartment around 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8 when two men attacked him at gunpoint in what police said was a failed robbery attempt that may have racist undertones after one of the suspects mentioned anti-Asian insults against him.

“The mugger was so frustrated, he told me “Fuckin Asian“ and he hit my forehead with a gun. When I felt the blood dripping on my face, that’s when I started screaming,” Braganza said.

His neighbors rushed out from their apartments, police came, and an ambulance rushed him to the nearby New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he received stitches for the gash on his forehead.

Braganza has lived in New York since the early 1980s. He was mostly on the road nationally and internationally from 1997 to 2019 as a performer.

He said he is still trying to shake the incident off his mind, taking it one day at a time. He has called the NYPD’s Detective unit to inquire if his attackers have been apprehended and he is still waiting for them to call him back.

“I divert my mind to something creative, listen to music, meditate, pray and talk to my family, relatives, and close friends,” he shared.

Remain vigilant

Consul General Elmer G. Cato issued advisories last week reminding members of the Filipino community to always remain on alert especially when taking mass transport.

“Just when we thought that race-based violence inflicted on our kababayan here in New York had died down, two more incidents in the past week again underscored the need for members of the Filipino Community to remain vigilant,” Cato said.

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, Potri Ranka Manis, founder of Kinding Sindaw folk dance group, sustained injuries after she was violently assaulted in a hate incident by two individuals while she was distributing face masks onboard the E Train in Manhattan, according to the consulate.

Potri Ranka Manis. Photo courtesy of Potri Ranka Manis Facebook account

Ranka Manis said her assailants hurled anti-Asian statements at her while attacking her.

“We again call on New York City authorities to take the necessary actions to make sure that those behind these violent acts committed against our kababayan are arrested and brought to court. We reiterate our request for increased police visibility in the city, particularly in the subway system,” the consulate advisory said. “Kababayan are also urged to call 911 and the Consulate General in case they encounter similar situations.”

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at momar.visaya@asianjournalinc.com.

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