Ferdinand Marcos Jr is sworn in by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo beside his family during the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum in Manila on Thursday. AP
Manolo B. Jara, Correspondent / Agencies
Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Thursday sworn in as the 17th President of the Philippine at midday in a public ceremony at the National Museum in Manila in front of hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries, and journalists and supporters.
The oath was administered by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, 64, won last month's elections by a landslide, securing the biggest victory since his father and namesake was ousted by a popular revolt in 1986.
He succeeds the hugely popular Rodrigo Duterte, who gained international infamy for his deadly drug war and has threatened to kill suspected dealers after he leaves office.
Imelda Marcos (4th L) holds hands with her son, the new President Marcos Jr (C), as they stand with family members after he took his oath of office. AFP
With his 92-year-old mother Imelda sitting metres away, Marcos Jr praised the late patriarch's regime. "I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence... He got it done," Marcos Jr said after being sworn into office, claiming his father built more roads and produced more rice than all of his predecessors combined. "So will it be with his son. You will get no excuses from me."
Ahead of the swearing-in, Duterte received Marcos Jr at the Malacanang Presidential Palace — where the Marcos family fled into exile 36 years ago.
Duterte, 77, wore a mask and his traditional formal shirt, characteristically unbuttoned at the top and with sleeves rolled up, for the meeting with Marcos Jr, who he once described as "weak."
Marcos renewed his election campaign slogan for Filipinos to unite as he assured he was “ready” to work for their welfare and progress because “your dream is also my dream.”
“I’ve listened to you and this is what I heard. We all want peace in our land. You and your children want a chance for better life in a safer and more prosperous country,” Marcos pointed out.
“Ang panaginip ninyo ay panaginip ko (Your dream is also my dream),” which he intoned several times in Filipino to the loud roar and applause from the estimated 20,000 supporters who witnessed the ceremonies amid tight security. But, at the same time, Marcos said: “I will need your help. I want to rely on it but rest assured I do not predicate success in the cooperation that’s needed. It will be it done.”
Sara Duterte (2nd L) raises the arm of newly-elected Ferdinand Marcos Jr during the inauguration ceremony in Manila. Reuters
In particular, Marcos enumerated the top priorities that his incoming administration would undertake for the 110 million Filipinos. Foremost among these, he said, is to ensure national food security in the face of problems that threaten global food supply.
Earlier, he announced he would take over the Department of Agriculture in a temporary capacity. He explained his takeover would enable him to institute major reforms and give special attention to farmers, fishermen and other similar workers in the country’s neglected agricultural sector.
Reforms are also needed in the area of education, according to Marcos. But he clarified such reforms are not in history but in sciences and vocational skills for Filipinos.
More specifically, he cited the urgent need to equip and train with more skills overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to make them more competitive and to prevent them from being victimized by unscrupulous labor recruiters.
Also considered as significant was Marcos’s assurance for his incoming administration to be more transparent and perform better in coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
“There were shortcomings on the COVID-19 response. We will fix them out in the open. No more secrets in public health,” he said without, however, elaborating.
As the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the country7’s circulation dailies, put it in its June 30 edition, Marcos in was forced to flee Malacanang Palace as an angry young man in military fatigues, ready to protect his family in l986 during the Edsa People Power revolution.
Now at age 64, Marcos returns in triumph, exuberant with his massive election victory and appearing confident in taking the presidency that his father held for 20 years, including a military-backed strongman rule amid charges of alleged rampant human rights violations and massive plunder of the country’s treasury.
Marcos took his oath as the president in what his aides described as “simple and traditional.”
Present were the incoming first lady Liza Araneta, a lawyer and their three children as well as the president’s mother Imelda Romualdez Marcos and his two sisters led by Senator Imee Marcos.
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