Groups decry racism against Chinese amid coronavirus outbreak

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A few organizations say Filipinos and the Chinese must stand together against this global crisis. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 1) — A few organizations have urged the public to refrain from being discriminatory, particularly against Chinese nationals amid the global spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which began in China.

The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) on Saturday discouraged Filipinos from adding to racist messages following the news of the virus.

"Let us not join some misinformed people in their unfair anti-China racist stereotypes and xenophobic attacks, because this important Asian neighbor is the Philippines’ traditional ally and longstanding trade partner for over 1,000 uninterrupted years," said Henry Lim Bon Liong, FFCCCII President, in a statement.

Instead, Liong said people should commend China and its government for its transparency, "remarkable political will" and sacrifice during this health crisis. The public should also give moral support to the East Asian nation, Liong added.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) also denounced "blatant racism" and discrimination particularly by Adamson University.

University President Fr. Marcelo Maimtim on Friday issued a memorandum requiring Chinese students to undergo self-quarantine until February 14 as one of its precautionary measures. He also advised them to postpone all transactions in the school until the said date.

“This action is highly inappropriate in our civilizing and maturing Filipino educational system and values,” said Raymond Mendoza, TUCP president and TUCP Party-list Rep.

The TUCP added that "Whether Chinese or Filipino, now is the time for all people and all nations to stand together as one to protect all human life."

On Saturday, after earning the ire of netizens over the memorandum, Maimtim released a clarification, now saying all students, staff and stakeholders who have traveled to countries with confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV within the previous month, must go through self-quarantine.

"This Memorandum modifies the previous released, and we apologized for the misimpression it may have created," said Maimtim.

The Health Department on Thursday announced the first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in the country — a 38-year-old Chinese woman who came from Wuhan. Wuhan is the Chinese city which sits at the center of the outbreak.

President Rodrigo Duterte has since issued a temporary travel ban to stop the entry of visitors from China's Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

Several airline companies have also suspended flights going to and from Chinese cities.

Meanwhile, other Metro Manila schools also announced measures to further prevent the spread of the virus, which has already killed more than 250 people from mainland China and sickened nearly 12,000 others all over the world.