Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers doesn’t expect any friction between the administrations of US President-elect Joe Biden and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who are two “seasoned” leaders.
“I don’t see any problem between Presidents Biden and Duterte,” said Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.
“While Biden is a seasoned diplomat, our President is likewise a seasoned politician. In other words, they are both seasoned public servants,” Barbers said when asked how he thinks the dynamics would play out between Biden and Duterte.
Duterte was at his most critical against Washington during the tail end of Democrat Barack Obama’s presidency in 2016. Biden served as Obama’s vice president for eight years.
“Times have changed,” Barbers pointed out. “The world political landscape has also changed. We now face new problems and challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“New solutions must be made. I’m sure these two heads of state will be too busy tending to the future of their respective countries amid the pandemic,” the lawmaker said.
Biden, who turns 78 on November 20, has a reputation of being a seasoned diplomat as well as having the ability to build bridges. He was once chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The 75-year-old Duterte is known to be a tough leader, having been a longtime mayor of Davao City who struck fear in the hearts of criminals and earned the respect of Communist rebels in the region. Before that, he served as a city prosecutor.