In separate statements released Sunday morning, November 8, the two Philippine leaders said they looked forward to working with Biden and Harris, who will take office in January 2021.
“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa 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,” Malacañang said in a statement as Biden delivered his victory speech.
Democrat Joe Biden had defeated Donald Trump in a historic election ending a 4-year populist rule that stoked racism, peddled lies, and worsened divisions in the world’s most powerful country.
Harris, as Vice President-elect, broke a substantial barrier in the US, becoming the first woman, Black, and Asian to hold the second-highest office in the country.
“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,” Malacañang said.
It added: “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. Congratulations and we wish him all the best.”
On Sunday, Robredo also praised Biden and Harris’ win as an “affirmation” of shared values between the centuries-old allies the Philippines and US.
“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 tweeted.
When Biden enters the White House in January 2021, he will deal with Duterte for half of his term, or about two more years until the Philippine general elections in 2022.
Duterte had enjoyed cordial ties with Trump, nicknamed as the “Duterte of the West,” in contrast to the Obama administration, where Biden served as vice president. At the time, Duterte cursed then-president Barack Obama for expressing concern on human rights abuses seen in his controversial anti-illegal drug campaign.
Among the first major issues Biden will face when he enters office in January include negotiations on the Philippines and US’ decades-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Duterte earlier decided to walk away from the military pact due to the US’ decision to cancel his ally Senator Ronald Dela Rosa’s visa, but has since suspended its termination until December 2020.
Malacañang earlier said Duterte is considering extending the suspension of the VFA’s termination come January – just in time for the start of the Biden administration. – Rappler.com