US elections

‘America has spoken’

Carlos Santamaria

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'America has spoken and chosen President Obama for a second term,' says US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas

ELECTION PARTY. Americans and Filipinos follow the election recount inside the SM North Edsa Mall in Quezon City on November 7, 2012. Photo by Carlos Santamaria

MANILA, Philippines – Elections? Let’s party!

As part of its efforts to bring the US elections closer Filipinos, the US Embassy in Manila hosted a well-attended event in Quezon City’s SM North Edsa Mall to follow the results of the poll which reelected President Barack Obama.

The crowd erupted when CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer called the election for Obama, the candidate also supported by a majority of the Filipinos who attended the party.

‘America has spoken’

“America has spoken and chosen President Obama for a second term,” Ambassador Harry Thomas said after it was apparent that the Democratic candidate had secured his reelection.

Thomas, who was appointed by Obama to the post in 2010, stressed that “now it’s time for America to leave the rhetoric behind and work together for the greatness of our country.”

“I am very proud to continue working for President Obama but would have worked for Gov [Mitt] Romney if he had been elected. That is what democracy is about,” he added.

Washington’s top diplomat in Manila lauded the “progress” of a contest between an African-American and a Mormon and said the next challenge will be for the United States to elect a woman president like the Philippines did with Corazon Aquino (1986-1992) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001-2010).

PH, US presidents have same duty to protect jobs

Later in an ambush interview, Thomas was asked whether Obama will continue to support a bill to withdraw incentives from American companies that outsource jobs to the Philippines. (Read: Should Filipinos worry about Obama’s anti-BPO bill?)

The bill was rejected by the House of Representatives and analysts said it was “election-related.”

“President Obama’s job is the same as President [Benigno] Aquino’s job. President Obama’s job is to provide jobs for Americans, and President Aquino’s job is to provide jobs for Filipinos,” said Thomas.

The US ambassador also commended the Philippines for the almost 30 Filipino-Americans that run for public office in the elections.

“That’s not happening in any other country,” he noted.

‘Enough time to accomplish things’

Kevin Hogan is a Republican but decided to vote for Obama instead of Romney because he believes the president needs more time to accomplish the goals he set out for himself when he got elected in 2008.

“When Obama took office, the situation was pretty bad. Four years is not enough time to do what he said he was going to do, but in 4 more years he will probably be able to accomplish things,” the 45-year old New Yorker told Rappler.

Hogan insisted Gov Romney “is a good guy” but would have been the wrong choice this time, particularly for minority groups like African-Americans.

“They would have, you know, regressed (…) At least now nobody, whether black or white, will be able to say, he didn’t have enough time,” he said.

Healthcare like in Europe

One of Obama’s top priorities when he assumed office was reforming the US public healthcare system, which he did but not to the full extent his administration was hoping for.

This drive for uninsured Americans to get healthcare inspired Adelina Myrvang, a 66-year-old Filipina living in Italy, where, like in most European countries, medical attention is free and government-subsidized.

She told Rappler she roots for Obama because she wants the US to be like Europe, where everyone can go to a hospital and be cared [for] for free.”

Asked about how the US president’s reelection will affect the Philippines, Myrvang said that “whatever he has in terms of objectives for the Philippines, it’s really more comfortable to the same government for another 4 years.”

“The longer a good leader is in power, the better.” –

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