Marcos vows to deliver on promises with 'no excuses'
MANILA (UPDATE) — Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. was sworn in as the 17th President of the Philippines on Thursday, completing the decades-long restoration of his family back to Malacañang.
Marcos, 64, won the May elections with 31 million votes, making him the first majority president since 1986, when a popular uprising toppled the 2-decade rule of his father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Shouts and cheers were heard as Marcos Jr. took his oath of office at noon before hundreds of dignitaries and supporters at the National Museum in Manila.
A military-civic parade prefaced Marcos Jr's oath-taking, touting the capability of the country's armed forces. Select medical frontliners, farmers, firemen, law enforcement personnel, and members of the labor force also joined the parade.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo administered Marcos' oath of office, two days after the high court junked the last petitions that sought to cancel his candidacy and bar him from assuming power.
Liza Araneta, Marcos' wife, stood behind Marcos as he was sworn in. His mother former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who is turning 93 on July 2 and clad in blue terno, sat nearby.
Marcos' sons Sandro, Simon, and Vincent, and his sisters Sen. Imee and Irene were also present.
Former Presidents Joseph "Erap" Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also attended the occasion.
Foreign dignitaries in attendance included US Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai, Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, and Australian Governor General David Hurley.
TV personality Toni Gonzaga sang the national anthem.
MARCOS TO LISTEN TO CRITICS, FOCUS ON SOCIAL, ECONOMIC RECOVERY
In his inaugural address, the new Philippine leader reiterated his campaign call for unity, improving the lives of Filipinos, and spurring pandemic recovery.
"I believe that if we but focus on the work at hand and the work that will come to hand, we will go very far under my watch. You believed that too. At pinakinggan ko ang tinig ninyo na ang sinisigaw ay pagkakaisa, pagkakaisa, pagkakaisa," Marcos said.
(I listened to your voice as you call for unity.)
Just like what his father, ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. did, the public could rely on him that "no excuses" would be made in delivering on his promises, he said.
"I will not spare myself from shedding the last bead of sweat or giving the last ounce of courage and sacrifice," the new leader said.
"And if you ask me why I am so confident of the future, I will answer you simply that I have 110 million reasons to start with. Such is my faith in the Filipino."
Aside from these, the Chief Executive vowed he will not meddle in foreign issues such as the war in Ukraine, will use fresh techniques in addressing local crises, and will ramping up government social services to the public.
He promised to listen to his critics and "repair a house divided, to make it whole, and to stand strong again."
"We shall see and not scorn dialogue, listen respectfully to contrary views, be open to suggestions coming from hard thinking and sparing judgement but always from us Filipinos," said Marcos, Jr.
Marcos Jr. succeeds President Rodrigo Duterte, who remains popular despite an anti-narcotics crackdown that left thousands dead, drawing international criticism.
Hours before the inauguration, Duterte and Marcos met at the Malacañang Palace, where the latter grew up during his father's 21-year presidency marred by corruption and rights abuses.
Marcos Jr. secured the presidency with his predecessor's daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, as his running-mate.
The younger Duterte, who received more votes than Marcos', would serve as education secretary. The new President will head the agriculture department.
Marcos inherits an economy squeezed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He has promised to spur jobs, tame rising prices, and unite Filipinos.
He also promised to uphold the 2016 decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that declared Beijing's historical claim to the West Philippine Sea as without basis.
Following a traditional vin d' honneur inside the National Museum with members of the diplomatic corps after his oath taking, Marcos Jr. will travel back to the Palace to administer the oath of office to his Cabinet members.