By Junex Doronio
RELUCTANT TO COMMENT that the Philippines will benefit from the incoming Biden-Harris administration in the United States, De La Salle University (DLSU) international relations Prof. Renato De Castro said the electoral victory of the Democratic Party may serve as a challenge to the Duterte government.
“It will only benefit us depending on how we will look at their actions, how our leaders will interpret their actions—whether they’re opportunities or challenges, and of course, if we will take advantage, if we will have the willingness to the risk of either using it as an opportunity or as a challenge,” De Castro stressed in an interview with ANC’s Karen Davila.
On the other hand, Malacañang has aired hope that the US government under President-elect Joe Biden will relax immigration policies that took the restrictive approach during the term of outgoing US President Donald Trump.
Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate also made it as United States’ very first woman vice president.
De Castro explained that it will depend on how President Rodrigo Duterte’s government will look at it–as an opportunity or a challenge.
“At this point in time, it is a challenge…The perception in Washington is that you have challenges in our liberal democratic regime since 2016. You basically have a populist leader who is basically undermining all political institutions: Senate, Supreme Court; and attacks the media,” De Castro said.
He noted that the vote outcome in the US can also be seen as “a pushback against authoritarian populism,” which may inspire similar movements elsewhere in the world.
“You have the reaction of the American society that the United States will not tolerate it on its soil, and probably it will challenge other regimes that are led by populist leaders who have authoritarian tendencies,” De Castro said.
But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque expressed optimism that the Democratic Biden presidency would deal fairly with undocumented Filipino workers in the US.
“Sana po matulungan yung mga Pilipino na naninirahan ngayon sa Estados Unidos na wala pa pong mga papel dahil ‘yan naman po yung isang major policy difference between a Republic and Democratic administration (I hope they help Filipinos living in the United States without papers because that’s one of the major policy differences between a Republic and Democratic administration),” Roque said. (ia)