US elections

Beyond elections, US vows friendship with Philippines ‘will only grow’

Sofia Tomacruz
Beyond elections, US vows friendship with Philippines ‘will only grow’
'To the US, the Philippines is more than an ally, it is more than an economic partner. The Philippine people are our friends,' says Chargé d’Affaires John Law

The United States on Wednesday, November 4, vowed that its strong friendship with the Philippines would only continue to flourish whoever wins the American presidency. 

“Today, we also celebrate the strength, the vitality, and the endurance of the US-Philippine alliance and Philippine-American friendship. I’m quite confident that that too will not change,” Chargé d’Affaires John Law said in an address delivered at the US embassy, as the US celebrated democracy on its Election Day.

“It will only grow and flourish for many years to come,” he added.

Law gave his remarks at the US election watch party at the US embassy in Manila. 

It has been a tradition for US officials in the Philippines to host the event, which pushed through despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Law gave assurances that embassy officials “took every effort” to ensure the safety of those present. 

In his speech, Law highlighted the ties between the century-old allies as a constant throughout the years, withstanding different administrations in Washington and Manila. 

“To the US, the Philippines is more than an ally, it is more than an economic partner. The Philippine people are our friends – and that friendship goes back over a century,” he said. 

The consequential 2020 US election pits Joe Biden, former vice president, against White House incumbent Donald Trump, who has had a tumultuous 4 years in office. 

Meanwhile, Law also expressed US solidarity with the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Rolly, which left at least 20 people dead, mostly in the Bicol region.

“I’m here to reassure you today the United States stands ready to do anything and everything we can to help the Philippines recover from the typhoon,” Law said. 

As far as the Philippines is concerned, the winning candidate will deal with President Rodrigo Duterte for about half of their term, or about two more years until the Philippine general elections in 2022. Duterte had favored a pivot to China as part of his “independent foreign policy” that was supposed to steer the country away from traditional allies like the US.

Philippine officials including Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque have both expressed confidence that Duterte would establish good relations with the next US president. 

This was true for Trump, with whom Duterte has built rapport. Roque said Duterte can also develop a “close personal friendship” with Biden, even if the Philippines leader often clashed with the Obama administration and even cursed then-President Barack Obama and the US State Department after they expressed concern over human rights abuses in his drug war. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.