Palace welcomes Biden victory, commit to enhancing Philippines-US relations
US President-elect Joe Biden greets crowd after his address to the nation from the Chase Center November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. After four days of counting the high volume of mail-in ballots in key battleground states due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race was called for Biden after a contentious election battle against incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.
AFP/Win McNamee/Getty Images

Palace welcomes Biden victory, commit to enhancing Philippines-US relations

(Philstar.com) - November 8, 2020 - 10:35am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 11:52 a.m.) — Malacañang congratulated US president-elect Joseph Biden shortly after the latter's victory in the US presidential elections was announced by state media Sunday morning, Philippine time. 

"On behalf of the Filipino nation, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to former Vice President Joseph "Joe" Biden on his election as the new President of the United States of America," Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement sent to reporters. 

Earlier in March, Duterte in a televised press conference urged Filipino-Americans to support the reelection of incumbent, and now outgoing US President Donald Trump, whom the chief executive once described as a "good friend." 

“To the Filipinos (in America)... if this comes out, vote for Trump. And they say that I am interfering? Of course, I am interfering,” he said then. “Tell that to the Americans that Duterte is insisting on interfering. You know why? Do you know why I’m interfering? Because they did it first. They (accuse us of) extrajudicial killing 70,000 (people)."

However, it took all of four days of ballot counting for the Democratic challenger to surpass the more than the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the race early Sunday morning (Manila time), rendering Trump the first president denied a reelection by the American population in almost three decades. 

Trump has said he would seek legal action on the outcome—a move experts say is a "desperation ploy"—and hurled wild and unproven accusations of electoral fraud on his social media channels.

"The Philippines and the United States have long-standing bilateral relations and we are committed to further enhancing the relations with the United States under the Biden administration," Roque said in his statement.

"We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President-elect Biden anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law," he added. 

Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte have historically been very warm towards one another, with the Republican leader once vocally expressing support for Duterte's "drug war."

In a call dated April 29, 2017, Trump congratulated Duterte for an "unbelievable job on the drug problem," which left many in the White House "genuinely horrified."

The chief executive has long been vocal about his intent to distance himself from the US in his pursuit of an "independent" foreign policy. 

In a tweet posted later Sunday, Vice President Leni Robredo also congratulated Biden along with his runningmate Sen. Kamala Harris.

"My warmest congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris!" she wrote.

Harris, the senator from California, made history as the first woman and the first woman of color to be elected Vice President of the US.

In comparison, Robredo is the second woman to serve as vice president after Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the first Vice President from Bicol.

"Your victory is an affirmation of the shared ideals on which the long friendship between our two nations stand: democracy, civil rights, faith, and inclusivity. I pray for your success!" Robredo also said. — Franco Luna with a report from Bella Perez-Rubio 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 23, 2020 - 2:54pm

A thread of major developments in the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States from April to December 2020. (Photo by AFP/Mark Cristino)

November 23, 2020 - 2:54pm

US national security adviser Robert O'Brien affirms Washington's commitment to the Philippines in protecting its sovereign rights, offshore resources and rights consistent with international law.

Citing Washington's realignment of its position on the South China Sea with the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidate Beijing's expansive claims, O'Brien stresses that resources in the area belong to the Filipino people.

"They don’t belong to some other country that just because might, they may be big, and they may be bigger than the Philippines, they can come take away and convert the resources of the Philippine people," O'Brien says.

October 7, 2020 - 1:03pm

The US Embassy in the Philippines says the US government has turned over 150 laptop computers, printers, projectors and 80 sets of learning materials to the Department of Education through the United States Agency for International Development. 

"This assistance is part of USAID’s Opportunity 2.0, a five-year, P1.9-billion ($37.5 million) project that works with DepEd, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and local governments to support their ongoing programs to provide relevant education, employability skills, and work experience to out-of-school youth," the US Embassy says in a statement.

August 19, 2020 - 8:56am

The US government launches a new program to provide second-chance opportunities to at least 180,000 out-of-school youth in the Philippines.

Under the five-year "Opportunity 2.0" project, which is worth P1.9 billion, the USAID will partner with DepEd and TESDA to augment their ongoing programs that provide relevant education, employability skills and work experience.

"Through this new partnership, we can leverage a range of resources to maximize the potential of the Filipino youth, particularly those who are out-of-school or unemployed. With the right knowledge, attitudes, and skills, they will play a pivotal role in this great country’s growth and success over the long-term," US Ambassador Sung Kim says.

August 7, 2020 - 8:05am

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to discuss the recent change in US policy on maritime claims in the South China Sea, the US Department of State says.

The two foreign ministers also discussed US support for Southeast Asian coastal states upholding their sovereign rights and interests consistent with international law, as well as opportunities for further maritime cooperation between the two countries.

"The two secretaries also discussed the strong economic, security, and people-to-people ties that bind our two countries," the statement read.

July 27, 2020 - 8:56am

The US Army and Marine Corps service members, in partnership with the Philippine Air Force, Army and Coast Guard, deliver an additional P11.4 million ($236,000) worth of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to hospitals in 11 cities in the Philippines.

The latest donation brings the total assistance of the US government to the Philippines' efforts against COVID-19 to P989 million (more than $20 million).

"This latest delivery of U.S. government assistance for Filipino frontliners in the battle against COVID-19 is a testament to our ongoing commitment to help the Philippines defeat the pandemic," US Ambassador Sung Kim says.

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