WASHINGTON D.C. - Relations between the Philippines and United States will stay the same regardless of who wins tomorrow’s elections, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said.
The tension is palpable as polls show President Barack Obama and Republican standard-bearer Mitt Romney fight through a virtual tie just hours before voting precincts open.
A survey by the National Asian American Survey (NAAS) released last month, appeared to buttress the Filipinos’ image as fence-sitters: about 47 percent of Fil-Ams couldn’t or wouldn’t identify themselves with either political party.
But the survey showed that in this election, more Fil-Ams favor the GOP bet, a reversal of the 2008 elections when more went for the Democrats. The NAAS poll suggested Fil-Ams have overtaken Vietnamese-Americans as the staunchest Republican supporters.
Cuisia doesn’t believe that relations between the Philippines and US will change too much after the elections. Ties will remain close and will continue to grow, he predicted, whoever is sitting in the Oval Office.
The top Philippine envoy had urged Fil-Ams to take a more active role in this year’s elections, supporting voter registration and “get-out-the-vote” campaigns for Fil-Ams across the country.
Building a potent Fil-Am pull in American politics is viewed as crucial for the Philippine’s efforts to win concessions ranging from preferential trade to more military aid.
Cuisia indicated that the Philippines and US – military pact partners – face common interests and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly from an increasingly assertive China, and this will help drive bilateral relations irrespective of which party is in power in Washington DC.
Fil-Am partisans in the Metro DC region are bracing for tomorrow’s elections. Many are joining “watching parties” in homes, sports bars and party offices.
Voting stations in the East Coast will close at 7 or 8 in the evening, with the first exit polls expected to be ready for news networks at 9:00 PM – unless the race becomes too close to call.
Here in the nation’s capital, most eyes are trained on the battle for Virginia.
Washington DC and Maryland are solidly in the Democratic column but Virginia has an entirely different dynamic – south of the Mason-Dixon line is the farms, sprawling military bases, shipyards and factories that are a traditional bastion for conservatives.
Northern Virginia has provided much for the growth for the Commonwealth, aided in part by the rapid growth in the Latino and Asian American population, which has swelled the ranks of Democrats.
The contest between southern and northern Virginia will determine who will carry its 13 electoral votes (first to win 270 electoral votes, wins the presidency).
Virginia is considered a “must-win” for both Obama and Romney, especially if they lose Ohio or Florida.