Drilon sees gains from Biden presidency but says PH has to actively pursue its best interests

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said that the Philippines stands to gain from the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden but said such requires a more proactive approach on the part of the Philippine government in actively advancing the best interests of the country.

“I see a Biden presidency positive for the country and the rest of the Southeast Asian nations. I see a myriad of opportunities for the Philippines that has close historical, political, economic, cultural, and emotional ties with the US. Among the Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines is in the best position to actively pursue its interests,” Drilon said in a statement on Sunday.

“The Philippines is a longtime ally of the US. Around 40% of overseas Filipino workers remittances come from the US and 70% of business process outsourcing revenues come from the US. The Filipinos are on the top four ethnic groups in the US,” he emphasized.

Drilon said these give the Philippines an edge over other SEA nations insofar as its relationship with the US is concerned. But the gains will not be automatic, Drilon said.

“The US foreign policy under Biden would be naturally anchored on US national interests. That will determine US foreign policy vis-a-vis the Philippines, on issues such as the West Philippine Sea, extra-judicial killings, climate change, trade, among others,” Drilon said.

That is the reason why the Duterte administration, through the Department of Foreign Affairs headed by Sec. Teddy Locsin Jr., must actively engage the US and leverage the country’s unique advantages, the Senate chief fiscalizer said.

Drilon said it is very important that the country is able to assert its unique advantages and its deeply rooted partnership and relationship with the US, especially now that there are SEA nations like Vietnam, whose interest, particularly with regard to China, has shown to complement that of the US.

“President-elect Biden will be less constrained with regard to foreign policy,” Drilon said, adding:

“Hence, the Biden presidency will likely move faster and will have more significant gains in his foreign policy initiatives, like improving US relationships with SEA nations, rejoining the World Health Organization, the Paris Climate Treaty, the anti-nuclear proliferation treaty, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Iran Nuclear Deceleration Treaty, a more aggressive implementation of Magnitsky Act, etc.”