Trump acknowledges election defeat, prepares transition for new admin

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2021   •   664

Outgoing United States President Donald Trump has acknowledged his election defeat after the US Congress formally certified the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 November elections.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th, my focus now turns into ensuring a smooth and orderly transition of power, this moment calls for healing ang reconciliation,” he said.

He also condemned the violence that occurred after several pro-Trump protesters breached the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

“Demonstrators who infiltrated the capital had defiled the seat of the democracy, to those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram imposed an indefinite suspension on Trump’s social media accounts. The ban will remain in place for at least two weeks or after the inauguration of Biden.

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

Palace hopeful US-PH ties to continue under Biden

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2021

Manila, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday (January 21) said the Philippines’ foreign policy with the United States (US) will remain under the administration of US President Joe Biden.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said both countries have similar priorities, including the interest of the citizens.

“Ang ating relasyong panlabas pareho namang consistent ang ating polisiya. Ang president po ay isinusulong ang indipendienteng panlabas na relasyon na ang inuuna po ay interes ng ating bayan at sambayanang Pilipino. Ganoon din po ang mga Amerikano (Our policies are consistent with our foreign relations. The president is pushing for an independent foreign relation which prioritizes the interest of Filipinos. Americans are also the same),” he said.

Roque noted both countries are also prioritizing their own national interest and independence as a nation.

“Isusulong nila ang pang-nasyonal na interes at siyempre po ang pakikipagkaibigan pero ang mga bansa ang kinakailangang isulong, ang kani-kaniyang interes (They are pushing for their national interest and of course, foreign ties, but the countries have their own interests to pursue),” the Palace official added.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier on Thursday sent his congratulatory message to President Joe Biden for the latter’s inauguration.

“Our president, Rodrigo Duterte, sends his warmest greetings and his best wishes to the 46th president of the United States, Joseph “Joe” Biden and to his vice president Kamala Harris,” Roque announced.

Meanwhile, several political analysts said the Biden Administration might be more vocal regarding the human rights situation in the country, particularly the national government’s war against drugs. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Joe Biden takes presidential oath, says ‘Democracy has prevailed’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 21, 2021

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. simply known as Joe Biden took his oath of office as the 46th president of the United States of America (USA) on a sunny day on Wednesday (January 20) at the Capitol Building in a ceremony that broke tradition.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden discouraged his supporters from attending the ceremony and opted to be with the company of thousands of National Guards to keep the peace and order following an assault on the Capitol Building on January 6.

For the first time since John Quincy in 1869, the outgoing commander-in-chief Donald Trump snubbed the ceremony as he still refused to accept his election defeat.

After Trump’s tumultuous four years, Biden implied that finally, democracy has been restored in the US.

“America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.” he said.

“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” he added.

Biden did not mention his predecessor but referred to the incident at the Capitol perpetrated by Trump supporters two weeks ago. Biden said he will not let any attempt “to stop the work of our democracy” to triumph.

Moving forward, the new US president called for unity among Americans in facing the challenges ahead, especially the impact of the current pandemic which he called “dark winter”.

“In the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter,” Biden said.

“We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” he added.

Biden promised to be a president for all Americans saying “every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

“To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength,” he said addressing his critics.

“Yet hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans,” he vowed, calling for a stop on the war of colors referring to the conflicts between the Democrats and the Republicans.

Towards the end of his speech, President Biden called on US citizens to be more open and keep the value of humility as a new administration begins under his command.

“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility… because here’s this thing about life: There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you,” he said.

US shift in COVID-19 response, return to Paris Agreement under Biden could benefit PH — Analyst

Marje Pelayo   •   November 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Some policies under the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden could benefit the Philippines, according to political analyst Tony La Viña.

Under Biden, the US government is expected to be more active and open to working with other nations in the search for a COVID-19 cure.

The Philippines may now consider the US as another potential source of Covid vaccine other than China and Russia.

“Kung si Trump ang nanalo, hindi niya ibabahagi ang vaccine nila sa atin. Ngayon kay Biden […] first day of office sabi niya, ‘We are going back to the World Health Organization to cooperate with other countries on the vaccine.'” La Viña noted.

As a country prone to natural disasters, the Philippines may also benefit from America’s return to the Paris Climate Change agreement.

On the other hand, La Viña said, one of the possible conflicts between the administrations of Biden and President Rodrigo Duterte is on the issue of human rights given the Democrats’ strong stand on the matter.

It can be recalled that the Duterte administration’s relationship with the administration of then President Barack Obama turned sour because of the latter’s criticisms on the former’s war on drugs.

Nevertheless, the overall US-Philippines relationship remains good despite conflicting stands.

Minsan ine-exaggerate natin ang presidential statements. But in reality even under Duterte, we have been able to collaborate and cooperate with the US very well,” La Viña said.

With regard to the territorial issues on the West Philippine Sea, the US has been vocal about its support for the Philippines, and Biden is expected to sit down with its allies in the region. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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