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New political set-up in US Congress has good and bad implications for the Philippines

The latest changes in the political set-up in the US Senate and House of Representatives would have both good and bad implications for the Philippine economy, an administration lawmaker said yesterday.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the significant electoral gains posted by the US Republican Party in the recent midterm polls would impact on two issues that are of vital importance to the Philippines – immigration and business outsourcing.

“There is a downside and an upside from the Republican Party’s electoral gains,” Evardone said.

He said efforts to rein in the outsourcing of jobs, especially in the business processing sector (BPO), will be frustrated by Republicans at Capitol Hill because of the pro-business orientation of the Republican lawmakers and basic philosophy of staying out of the affairs of private business.

“The Republican gains would put brakes to the growing calls within the US to limit the outsourcing of jobs. The Republicans do not normally step into the business of private business and this is the upside of their electoral gains,” he said.

The downside of the results of the elections, Evardone said, is on the immigration issue.

He said Republicans have campaigned partly on a “nativist call” that also invokes tighter immigration rules, the erecting of physical  barriers  to ward off people sneaking into US illegally, and the rejection of smoothing the legalization of illegal immigrants now in the US.

“Democrats are generally more receptive of immigration reforms that would set the path toward the legalization of illegal immigrants, Filipino TNTs included,” he said, referring to Filipino residing illegally in the US.

Evardone said for now and in the near future, “we cannot expect an immigration reform that would be supported by Republicans.”

Cavite Rep. Jose Emilio Abaya said the outcome of the elections could be a lesson for the Aquino administration, which currently enjoys the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“That would be a good learning lesson for us. Up to us to show that we won’t follow the same track,” Abays said.

The House is currently dominated by President Aquino’s party, the Liberal Party.

Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte however said he does not the same thing happening in the country’s political scene.

“We have no problem here. The majority is solid,” Belmonte told reporters.

He said the US policy towards the Philippines is not likely to change.

(Zaldy Lwnon / Art B. Uy)

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