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Philippines Expecting Bond with US Bolstered after Obama Takes Presidency
    2008-11-08 21:09:11     Xinhua
The Philippines is expecting that the "special bond" with the United States will be bolstered after U.S. president-elect Barack Obama takes presidency, the government said on Saturday.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is confident that the incoming presidency Obama will "hold much promise in ushering in an era of enhanced relations between the Philippines and the United States," the Philippine government said in a press release.

In a letter to President Arroyo on June 24, 2008, when she paid a working visit to the United States, the then presidential candidate Obama outlined issues and concerns for collaboration between the two countries hinged on a "partnership that makes progress on 21st century challenges," said Eduardo Ermita, Executive Secretary and presidential spokesman of the Philippines.

These important issues include climate change, food security, poverty reduction, the future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), human rights in Burma and defense reform, he added.

Besides the Philippines, the ASEAN is composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In the letter, Obama expressed confidence in successfully addressing these challenges given the two countries' "shared history and the Philippines' role as Asia's first democracy," as well as "the Philippines' special bond with the United States," Ermita said.

The Philippines considers the United States as its closest ally: economically, militarily and politically. This is partly due to the historical connection between the two countries, as well as the superpower status of the United States. The United States was even the architect of the current form of Philippine government.

"This bond is enriched by a vibrant and successful Filipino- American community that has made such enormous contributions to our country (the United States)," Obama was quoted.

It is estimated that more than 3 million Filipinos are living and working in the United States, among whom Obama is very popular. Many Filipino-Americans had actively participated in the electoral process in the United States, and President Arroyo said earlier that their choices of Obama "ultimately and positively impact their Motherland, the Philippines, as much as it will redound to the betterment of the United States of America as a nation and as a people."

President-elect Obama also noted the historical road that the two countries have journeyed on over the years, Ermita said.

Barack Obama will swear in on Jan. 20, 2009 as the first African American president of the United States.


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