MANILA - The reelection of US President Donald Trump or the victory of former Vice President Joe Biden in the race to the White House will have an effect on the Philippines, an envoy said.
Jose Manuel Romualdez, Philippines' ambassador to the United States, said Wednesday there could be a shift in foreign policy and on the economic situation if Biden wins.
He said while the Philippines was not invited to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, the country had been hoping to forge a bilateral trade agreement with the United States. Negotiations for this are currently on hold, but if Trump wins a fresh term, it will likely move forward.
"To be very honest about it, I think we can deal with both. We’ve had a Democrat president, we’ve had a Republican president," Romualdez told ANC's Headstart when asked which of the two nominees would be better for the Philippine economy.
Filipinos in the United States also have a "very good image," and both Democrats and Republicans "have been very kind, to a certain extent" to the community, he said.
US senators from both sides that he has spoken with all say that "they like the Filipino community here," he said.
"We really have a big plus in the way we conduct ourselves here in the United States. There’s very little report of Filipinos involved in any kind of crime. We also have a number of Filipinos in the frontlines, and they’re very much appreciated," he said.
It remains to be seen if there will be changes in terms of immigration, as Romualdez noted that there had been more deportations during the time of former President Barack Obama than during the Trump administration.
Biden was Obama's vice president.
A 2014 report from ABS-CBN's North American Bureau said millions were deported during the Obama years, and nearly 600,000 undocumented youth were given relief since from deportation since 2012 under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
However, the current regime has stood for "jobs for Americans first," said Romualdez. Trump administration also cut down on issuances of study exchange visas and temporary employment visas, he added.
Currently, there are some 350,000 Filipinos standing before immigration courts for overstaying, he said.
The Trump administration also sought the pullout of some American industries from China, and this may continue under Biden, said Romualdez.
"However for those companies that are already doing business outside the United States, they would like them to expand to the other parts of Asia," he said of what he has heard about the Democrat nominee's plan.
The Philippines is promoting itself as "the pathway to Asia," he said.
There will be no changes in the procurement of the vaccine for COVID-19, which President Rodrigo Duterte insisted must be a government-to-government transaction, said Romualdez.
"All these companies are prepared to supply the world. We know that we live in a global village. If one country still has an active infection rate, it’s not going to be good. But I think government to government is the only thing that is possible at this time," he said.