MANILA, Oct 13 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Consulate General in New York has called on local authorities to take more effective efforts to “make the streets of New York safe again” following the death of nurse Maria Luningning Ambrocio.
“While we know that authorities are doing their best, we hope that they exert more serious efforts and make more resources available to make this happen,” Consul General Elmer Cato said in his remarks during the memorial mass for the late Filipina on Monday.
He said the Filipino community stands in solidarity with many others who have been calling on the city to give more focus on improving mental health care as well as in strengthening Kendra’s Law so that dangerous people could be taken off the streets.
The Filipina nurse from New Jersey was walking through Times Square in New York City last Friday when a fleeing mugger knocked her to the ground.
She was immediately taken to Bellevue Hospital with a traumatic brain injury and passed away on Saturday after she was taken off life support.
Cato said Ambrocio had died at a time “when violence against members of the Filipino community and the larger Asian and Pacific Islander Community –whether induced by pandemic-exacerbated xenophobia or by mental illness — remain on the rise.”
Based on the consulate’s latest monitoring, at least nine members of the Filipino community have been victims of “unprovoked acts of violence” in the city.
At the beginning of the year, a 72-year-old Filipina ended up in the intensive care unit after she was assaulted while entering her apartment building in Queens. This was followed by the face slashing of a 61-year-old Filipino on board a subway train in Manhattan and the violent attack on a 65-year-old Filipina who was walking to church also in Manhattan.
Cato noted that a 67-year-old Filipina nurse was also assaulted a few weeks ago while distributing face masks on a subway train also in Manhattan and more recently, a 75-year-old Filipina was badly injured after she was shoved while exiting a subway station in Queens.
“Most, if not all, of those who were behind these acts of violence are mentally ill and homeless individuals and, according to reports, there are more than 12,000 of them in the streets of New York City,” he said.
“[A]s we mourn the passing of Maria Luningning Ambrocio, I reiterate our call for authorities to take more effective steps to make the streets of New York safe again for all of us,” he added.
‘A woman of courage, compassion’
In a tribute, the diplomat described the late Filipina nurse as a woman of “courage and compassion” who did her part in saving lives the way she had been doing in the 25 years she took care of cancer patients in New Jersey.
Like many other Filipino health care workers today, Ambrocio was at the frontlines fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the United States.
At the Bayonne Medical Center, Cato said Ambrocio was known as a caring and wonderful person” who went out of her way to help others.
“She is remembered by colleagues on how she mentored the younger nurses among them with one even describing her as an ‘angel sent by God to guard and be with her during her long and difficult journey to a foreign land,’ and ‘who gave her the hope and courage to live and survive the harsh conditions of the concrete jungle of New York City,'” Cato said.
“There are many more testimonials and anecdotes that would reveal just how much Luningning was loved and admired and how much she brightened people’s lives, ultimately, measuring up to her name – Luningning, which means sparkle or brilliance in Filipino,” he added. (MNS)