By John Ezekiel J. Hirro

President Rodrigo Duterte is looking forward to working with US President-elect Joe Biden, Malacañang said on Sunday.

“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to former Vice President Joseph ‘Joe’ Biden on his election as the new president of the United States of America,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

US television networks called the presidential race early Sunday (PH time) as Biden seized more than the required 270 electoral votes. Biden captured 290 electoral votes, while Trump had 213 electoral votes as of Sunday afternoon.

Roque said the country was committed to advancing its ties with the US under Biden’s presidency.

“The Philippines and the United States have long-standing bilateral relations and we are committed to further enhancing the relations with the United States under the Biden administration,” he said.

“We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President-elect Biden anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he added.

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo also congratulated Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris, who became the first female US vice president.

“My warmest congratulations to President-elect @JoeBiden and VP-elect @KamalaHarris! Your victory is an affirmation of the shared ideals on which the long friendship between our two nations stand: democracy, civil rights, faith and inclusivity. I pray for your success!” she said in a tweet.

In his victory speech, Biden said he “seeks not to divide, but to unify” the American people.

“The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season – a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America,” he said.

He also said getting the Covid-19 pandemic under control would be his priority stepping into office.

“We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments – hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us – until we get this virus under control,” he added.