PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is looking to improve ties with the United States under President-elect Joseph Biden, according to the presidential palace.
“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,” his spokesman Harry L. Roque said in a statement on Sunday.
Mr. Biden’s victory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch the presidency, Reuters reported.
This ended four days of nail-biting suspense and sent the former US vice president’s supporters into the streets of major cities in celebration.
Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said the victory of Mr. Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris was an affirmation of people’s democratic ideals. This is against the backdrop of global authoritarian populism, she added, alluding to incumbent Donald Trump.
“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,” Ms. Robredo said in a statement.
Mr. Biden in his first national address since he won the election against Mr. Trump, who had yet to concede, said it was time to heal a deeply divided America.
The Philippines and US trace their ties to the time when Spanish rule ended in 1898 with Spain’s defeat in the Spanish–American War. The Philippines then became a colony of the US until 1946.
Mr. Duterte has sought closer trade and investment ties with China since he became president in 2016, vowing to rely less on the US and embracing China and Russia. Washington had called the relationship “ironclad” despite Mr. Duterte’s allegations of US hypocrisy and ill treatment.
The Philippines could benefit in “strengthening its military capability” under a Biden presidency, Maria Ela L. Atienza, a political science professor from the University of the Philippines, said in an e-mailed reply to questions.
The Southeast Asian nation could also gain from the relationship by gaining access to US-developed vaccines against the coronavirus, she added. On the other hand, Mr. Biden might call out Mr. Duterte for alleged human rights violations in his deadly war on drugs.
“Biden may be more vocal in articulating problems in the war on drugs and treatment of the opposition and known critics of the administration,” Ms. Atienza said.
“Our man in Washington DC is well-positioned to help steer our country’s interests through whatever changes a Democratic White House would bring to Philippine-US relations,” Senator Ralph G. Recto said in a statement.
Mr. Recto reminded the government that its foreign policy should be founded on the interest of the Filipino rather than being “pro-Beijing” or “pro-Biden.”
Meanwhile, Senators Juan Miguel F. Zubiri and Francis N. Pangilinan said Mr. Biden’s victory has restored democracy in the US.
“The gift of democracy is a gift we, the people, give ourselves and democracy is kept alive by passion and vigilance to translate our individual actions into a collective outcome,” Mr. Pangilinan said in a statement.
The tenor of US-led bilateral and multilateral talks would be more “civil, methodical and problem-solving-oriented,” Agusan Del Norte Rep. Lawrence H. Fortun said separately.
“For the Philippines, we will see a resurgence of the foreign policies the Obama administration had,” he said. He also said he expects Mr. Biden to support the Philippines in asserting its territorial rights in the South China Sea against China.
Former lawmaker Loretta Ann P. Rosales in a statement said Mr. Trump’s defeat should serve as a warning to Mr. Duterte, who had been compared to Mr. Trump in the past.
“Trump’s defeat serves both as a warning and reminder to Duterte and his minions that all tyrants, regardless of their popularity and power, will fall,” she said. “Mr. Duterte has been warned.” — Gillian M. Cortez, Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Charmaine A. Tadalan