DFA, Thomas welcome Obama reelectionBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday welcomed the re-election of United States (US) President Barrack Obama, saying that the Philippines looked forward to strengthening relations between the two countries.
“The Philippines warmly welcomes the successful holding of the recent elections in the United States. The Philippines and the United States share common and deep democratic values, particularly the right of the people to freely choose their leaders,” the DFA said in a statement.
The DFA emphasized that it was particularly elated by the high voter turnout of Filipino-Americans (Fil-Ams) adding that this showed the increasingly active role played by the Fil-Ams in helping decide the future of the United States
“We look forward to continue working with the administration of President Obama in strengthening relations between our countries and in the promotion of peace and progress in our region and the world,” the DFA said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay also expressed his support for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, saying that he was confident the warm and productive relations between the Philippines and the US would continue, and that “matters of mutual interest will be pursued under the same atmosphere of trust and friendship that has characterized our relations for decades.”
Obama swept to re-election Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), winning a second four-year term at the White-House after defeating Republican foe Mitt Romney.
Thomas on 2012 US Elections: Democracy is the winner
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. also welcomed the results of the 2012 US elections.
He said the most important winner in every presidential election was not the candidates who garnered the most votes in the Electoral College, but the “democratic process.”
“It is perhaps our greatest achievement as a nation that in the more than 200 years since we gained independence, we have never allowed any group or individual to seize power through any means except the one permitted by our Constitution — by free and open election,” Thomas said in a speech he gave during the US embassy’s event “US Election Watch 2012″ held at SM North Edsa in Quezon City.
In his speech, Thomas underscored that though the results of the electoral processes created a winner and a loser, both participants endorsed the results of the democratic process. He noted observations made by CNN journalist Candy Crowley, saying that the act of the loser as the first person to address the winner as Mr. President-elect shows real democracy on a grand-scale
“Ms. Candy’s observation, to me, is what makes our democracy great. Whether the candidate we voted for won or lost, we are encouraged by the loser to support the president-elect in the name of our country’s democratic values and principles,” Thomas said.
“In the United States we have aggressive campaigns. We fight hard for every vote. But at the end of the race, we dust each other off, congratulate the winner and support democracy as a united people,” he added.
US reports said Romney conceded the US election early Wednesday, and told his supporters that he had called Obama to congratulate him on his victory.
Thomas also said that he looked forward to serving Obama again, and that Obama was faced with the challenge of delivering on his campaign promises – “a daunting task for anyone elected to the most difficult job in the world.” He noted how four years ago, people around the world could not believe that the US would elect an African-American as president.
“But we did. And now we re-elected him. That, my friends, is progress,” Thomas said.
He said that though the presidential race was the big news, it was by no means the only important decision American voters made. He said that the elections for races for Congress, Senator, and Governor in many states, local elections, and the participation of male and female candidates of every age, race, ethnicity, religion and orientation showed the diversity that is a testament to how far the US has come as a nation.
“We elected teachers, students, lawyers, doctors, farmers — candidates from practically any profession you could name. We elected candidates with physical disabilities. We elected successful businessmen, and we elected candidates who are poor. We elected famous candidates, and we elected candidates who were completely unknown until they ran for office,” Thomas said.
“Our democracy has never been more vibrant than it is now, when candidates of every imaginable background have an opportunity to participate in our system of government,” he said.
Filipinos vote in “mock elections”
During the US embassy’s election watch event at SM North Edsa that coincided with the actual United States elections, Filipinos in various parts of the Philippines were asked to participate in “mock elections” and choose who they wanted to be the next US president.
The embassy said the mock elections were held in places like Metro Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio City, Ilocos Norte, Davao, and Dumaguete.
The final tallies revealed that of the 2,129 Filipinos who participated, 76 percent or 1,620 people voted for the Obama-Biden tandem, while only 24 percent or 509 people voted for the Romney-Ryan tandem.
The event also allowed Filipinos to interact with embassy officials, watch live election returns, take part in activities like photo booth, intermission trivia games, and avail of elections-related information.