Filipino American voters in US ‘divided’ on Trump vs. Biden race

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 4) — There is no such thing as a ‘single Filipino American vote,’ an international studies professor said Wednesday, as the United States’ electorate casts their ballot in a race between incumbent US President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

"There's no Filipino American vote. They're divided," Renato de Casto said of the nearly two million eligible voters in the US, based on data from US-based think tank Pew Research Center.

"Generally, those Filipino Americans who served in the military, they're sort of conservative in contrast of course to those who are educated," he told CNN Philippines' New Day.

Generational gap

For political analyst Dindo Manhit, the Filipino American vote would be shaped by how different generations view political issues.

"The older Filipinos, who tend to be more conservative, see themselves aligning more on the conservative views of the Republican Party. But I see that the younger ones are expected to view things more liberal. And they will be affected by issues like immigration, race. So, you'll see some differences in views," Manhit said in an interview on New Day.

In separate interviews on CNN Philippines, two Filipino Americans voiced their reasons for backing their candidates of choice.

Joe Arciaga, a Democrat, said Biden had his vote because he believed the former US Vice President would be able to unite the nation.

"He is not divisive. He believes in science, so he is very able to address the current pandemic... He has a plan for the economy, meron siyang [he has] experience to rebuild the economy because of what happened when he was Vice President," he said.

Meanwhile, Phenjie Villacin said he was backing Donald Trump, a Republican, partly because of his religious views.

"Personally, as a conservative, as a Filipino American conservative at saka [and] an Evangelical Christian, there are two non-negotiables that I look for in a candidate. That is, the candidate has to be pro-life and pro-Israel. Yun ang pinaka-importanteng [That is the most important] reason for me to vote for Trump," he told Balitaan.

Polls across the US closed on Tuesday night (Wednesday in the Philippines) in a race that will decided whether to retain Trump following his tumultous first term or elect a new leader in the White House for the next four years.

Anxious

For his part, Brendan Flores, chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino American Association, said that Filipinos in the United States are anxious on what could possibly happen while awaiting the poll results.

“The reality is that a lot can happen in the next couple of hours or couple days, because it is such a close race,” Flores told CNN Philippines’ News.PH.

“I think right now the sentiment is Filipinos or Filipino Americans are anxious of what could happen,” he added. “Because there is impact on immigration, there is impact on healthcare, there is a lot of going on, especially on how the pandemic is handled.”

Impact on PH-US ties

Should Trump win the presidential election amid a pandemic, bilateral ties between the US and the Philippines would be on "status quo," according to Manhit.

Meanwhile, under a Biden administration, "certain relationships" of the two countries could be "affected," while the alliance to combat security threats may remain, the analyst said.

"With Biden, I would also like to remind everyone that his key to foreign policy is to reinvigorate democracy and renew economic security driven by democratic policy. So that may affect certain relationships between President Duterte and Biden," Manhit added.

He also noted that Biden, together with the Democratic Party, would be "more open" in "providing opportunities or a roadmap" to address the issue of undocumented Filipinos in the US.