Editor’s note: We are publishing in full the inaugural addresses of the Philippines’ past presidents as Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is inaugurated president.
[Delivered at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila, on June 30, 2004]
Thank you, Secretary Romulo, Vice President-elect and Mrs. Noli de Castro, former President Fidel Ramos, Senate President and Mrs. Drilon and the members of the Senate, Speaker and Mrs. De Venecia and the members of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice and Mrs. Davide, and the Associate Justices and other members of the Judiciary, Excellencies to Special Envoys and members of the Diplomatic Corps, members of the Cabinet and their ladies, other appointive officials, mayors of Metropolitan Manila, governors and other local officials, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and its men and women, as well as those of the police, members of the various sectors of society, fellow workers in government, mga minamahal kong kababayan:
Long live the Filipino nation!
My sincerest thanks to all of my beloved countrymen, to our democracy, to God Almighty.
This ceremony never fails to impress. It invests the highest official of the land with the chief care of the nation, and the principal responsibility of leaving it better than when she took it in hand.
Let me speak plainly.
When I step down six years from now this will be my 10-point legacy.
I shall have created more than six million jobs, perhaps, even ten million jobs. I shall have supported three million entrepreneurs by giving them loans and helping them become good managers. That way, we shall be establishing a deep foundation for a broad middle class.
I shall have developed one million hectares, if possible two million, of agribusiness land by making them productive and transporting their products to the markets efficiently.
Everyone of school age will be in school in an uncrowded classroom, in surroundings conducive to learning.
I shall have balanced the budget by collecting the right revenues and spending on the right things.
The network of transport and digital infrastructure on which my government embarked in the last three years will have linked the entire country.
Power and water will be regularly provided to all barangays.
Metro Manila will be decongested, with economic activity growing and spreading to new centers of government, business and community in Luzon, in the Visayas and in Mindanao.
The Subic-Clark corridor will be the most competitive international service and logistic center in the Southeast Asian region.
Elections will no longer raise a single doubt about their integrity. The electoral process will be completely computerized. Enough of the manual counting of votes.
And long before that, peace will have come to Mindanao. All insurgents shall have turned their swords into plowshares. They will have become so absorbed into one society that the struggles of the past will be just the stuff of legend.
The divisive issues generated by EDSA 1, 2 and 3 will also be just memories shared by friends from every side in those upheavals. Only the lessons of unity, courage and a just closure kept alive in their hearts.
We must end with justice the conflict brought about by EDSA 1, 2 and 3. There are more things that bind rather than tear us apart as a nation. We are a vibrant country with a lively democracy and fervor burning in our hearts. Industry, patience, fear of God and love for family are common values we hold dear.
The Filipino is known worldwide for his honesty, honor and dignity. We fight for what we believe in.
The last election clearly saw this fighting Filipino spirit at its best. Roco, Lacson, Villanueva and Poe all fought with conviction.
If only we could now fight together, with the same energy and conviction, to preserve our freedoms and advance our nation’s progress.
We know now what we can do when we set our minds to it. We know now how well we can unite the people around our respective causes. Can we not work together to rally the nation behind the paramount objective of its salvation?
To win and realize our dream, we must all unite. We must come together by tearing down the barriers of social division and building up economic opportunity for the poor and establishing justice for all. This is the foundation of genuine unity.
Our unity as a people will be defined by a strong vision of a nation built on common values of hard work, shared sacrifice and love of country.
The unity we seek is not one of conformity but unwavering respect for the rules and institutions of democracy. A modern country founded on social justice, enjoying economic prosperity.
To achieve a united country, we need to face the deep divisions of our nation squarely, not only the truth but also the solution. That solution must engage all segments of society in a new government of political reform and economic change.
Our nation must embrace a vision of economic opportunity, social cohesion and, always and ever, democratic faith. I offer my hand and I hope it will be taken with the same faith.
Unity is not measured by how many political parties are able to achieve the accommodation of narrow self-interests. Rather, it is achieved by the harmony of sincere convictions based on our agreement on the basic requirements for achieving the national good.
We are not merely a group of islands surrounded by water but a country linked by the sea and unified by a rich heritage. We are not an archipelago of false hopes but a nation joined together by the progress we seek.
Our ability to unify will be judged by our ability to come together under a common vision that will erase the divisions that hold us back as a nation.
The government must make tough choices, but this I promise: they will be tougher on those who have it easy than on those who have it tough already. In this way alone lies unity and not exploitation and division. We must include in our national goals the hopes and dreams of our poorest citizens in order for us to succeed.
It is immoral for the rich and powerful to keep taking more and more, leaving the poor with less and less.
It is immoral for the government to grow unresponsive, even corrupt, while leaving the poor without health care, without shelter, without clean water.
It is immoral for the foes of democracy to terrorize our children, paralyze our economy and jeopardize our future as the poorest among us bear the heaviest burden.
Therefore, I come to you today with a mandate from the people to unite the nation and fight for change. I come to you today with a mandate to govern by the clear call of the sovereign people.
I pledge to bring you a pro-poor agenda that will lift up our poorest brothers and sisters, invest them with dignity and imbue them with hope.
I pledge to you a government that will live within its means and put every spare peso to real work. I pledge to reduce spending where government does not work and increase spending where a government can make a difference for better.
And while I am doing that, I will crack down on wasteful and abusive officials and influenced peddlers.
I pledge to collect taxes mandated by law even as I stop extortion masquerading as tax collection. Pay your taxes; do not pretend to be innocent when you are caught. I will crack down on tax cheats.
And I pledge to do everything necessary to expand the economy, engage it deeper in the world of commerce and advance the interests of our country and our people the world over.
But for me to do all these, I need you. I cannot do these alone.
I will need very single Filipino to come together, get involved and help us bind the wounds of the past. I will need every single Filipino to get our nation healthy for tomorrow.
I challenge our business community to rise to the occasion and embrace selfless nationalism. Invest in our people and our country instead of giving excuses for keeping your money abroad where it cannot put our people to work.
I challenge our young men and women: there is a role to play in the re-creation of our nation, some in honest public service, most in productive private endeavor. Whatever it is you decide to do, let the greater part of it be for our country. It is personal patriotism, not impersonal free markets, that makes nations strong and great.
I look up to Congress to seize this moment in history. Its like it will not come again. All eyes are on us. You have it within your power to transform the nation with laws. Laws that modernize our banking, laws that reform our bureaucracy, laws that strengthen the independence and honesty of our judges, laws that invest in our country and secure to our people the promised blessings of democracy, which are a life worth living, liberty worth having, happiness within everyone’s grasp.
Now, is our time to march forward as one. I seek your wisdom and I trust in your commitment to the common good, to the swift actions you will take.
And finally, I challenge myself and our government to live up to the highest standards of honesty and competence in the public service.
Everyday, I shall get up and work for you. I shall make good and I shall do good for the good of all and not just for the cameras. The canvassing for public attention is over. I expect you to get up everyday to hold me accountable, in the full glare of transparent leadership. I shall wield the power of the Presidency to uphold truth and justice.
I devote my life and treasure to serving your mandate. Do your responsibility and I shall do mine.
United, how can we lose? Together, we will prevail!
We will strive together. We will triumph together.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.