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14/12/2012: PH Embassy Extends Sympathy over School Massacre; Checking if FilAms among Victims

14 December 2012
As of 1830H

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippine Embassy extended its sympathy to the United States following this morning’s shooting incident at an elementary school in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, most of them children.

The Embassy, at the same time, said it is trying to make sure that there are no Filipino-Americans among the casualties in what has been described as one of the deadliest school shootings in US history.

“We join the Government of the United States and the American people in mourning the loss of so many innocent lives,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said. “Our hearts go to the families of those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.”

News reports said the incident involved a lone gunman who opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, at around 9:40 a.m. The incident left six adults, including the gunman, and 20 pupils dead and another wounded.

Ambassador Cuisia said the Philippine Consulate General in New York is checking if the victims in the shooting incident included Filipino-Americans.

He said he was informed by Consul General Mario De Leon that there are around seven Filipino-American families registered with the Filipino-American Association of Western Connecticut who are residents of Newtown, a predominantly Caucasian community.

“From what we know there are no elementary-aged Filipinos or Filipino-Americans going to Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Ambassador Cuisia said, quoting an initial report from Consul General De Leon.

“Those of school age either go to other elementary schools or are in middle school, high school or college,” the Ambassador said, adding that there are no teachers from the Philippines in Newtown as most of the Filipinos there are nurses, doctors and engineers.

“Just the same, we want to be sure that all the Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in Newtown are safe,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

Consul General De Leon said the Consulate General immediately got in touch with leaders of the Filipino-American Association of Western Connecticut and the Newtown Police Department upon hearing of the incident but could not immediately verify if there are Filipino casualties because the list of victims has not been released yet.

Deputy Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega said the incident took place about 15 minutes from Danbury where more than 100 of the estimated 500 Filipino families in Western Connecticut are residing. She said there are 16,402 Filipinos across Connecticut based on the 2010 US Census. ###