There is growing anticipation over what President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will tell the nation on June 30 during his inauguration as the 17th President of the Philippines.
This is understandable as the soon to be “PBBM” would most likely be a very popular president right out of the gate, his dominant majority vote victory in the elections still very fresh on people’s minds.
Suffice it to say that right now, the only person who knows the contents of Bongbong’s speech is Bongbong himself.
But if there’s a good indicator of the future, it’s the past. And over 57 years ago, Bongbong’s late father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr, delivered a speech for his inauguration as the 10th President of the Philippines that could very well inspire the younger Marcos given his obvious influences on him.
With that said, here are four broad themes and topics from the December 30, 1965 inauguration speech that Marcos Jr. could touch upon or purposely call back to:
‘We are in crisis‘
To enumerate the many problems facing the country would be reasonable as a new president lays down his or her mission statement. For Marcos Jr., these challenges include the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the national debt worth over P12 trillion, and the looming food crisis.
Marcos Sr. minced no words in front of his kababayans at Quirino Grandstand when he declared “We are in crisis” and that the government coffers were “empty”.
“Our government in the past few months has exhausted all available domestic and foreign sources of borrowing. Our public financial institutions have been burdened to the last loanable peso. The lending capacity of the Central Bank has been utilized to the full. Our national government is indebted to our local governments. There are no funds available for public works and little of the appropriations for our national government for the present fiscal year. Industry is at a standstill. Many corporations have declared bankruptcy. Local manufacturing firms have been compelled to close or reduce their capacity,” the late Marcos said.
“Unemployment has increased. Prices of essential commodities and services remain unstable. The availability of rice remains uncertain. Very recently the transportation companies with the sanction of the Public Service Commission hiked their fares on the plea of survival,” he added.
He means business
With the problems identified, Marcos Sr. went on to state that he meant business, especially on the matter of preserving law and order–one of his main concerns at that time.
“We must, therefore, aim quickly at the establishment of a genuine rule of law. We shall use the fullest powers of the Presidency to stop smuggling and lawlessness,” the late President said.
“I, therefore, call upon all to join hands with me in maintaining the supremacy of the law. To those flaunt the law, I say: this is my constitutional duty and I am resolved to perform it. But it is not mine alone but yours. For whether Filipino or alien you survive under the mantle of protection granted by our laws. I am pledged to execute the law and preserve the Constitution of our republic. This I shall do. And if need be I shall direct the forcible if legal elimination of all lawless elements,” he stressed.
Marcos Jr., with a 31 million-strong mandate, certainly has the political capital needed to get things done.
The economy is king
Economic stability will be more important than ever as the Philippines tries to claw past the effect of the pandemic and the fallout from Russia-Ukraine war. As the incoming President, Marcos Jr. can break down his plans for economic recovery if only to quell the minds of Filipinos.
His father did something similar in 1965, just a few years away from a global fuel crisis, when he declared, “We have come to realize that economic planning is as essential for freedom as political planning.”
“Before today we had squandered the energies and resourcefulness of our people. In the government we saw a crippling hesitancy and timidity to face the facts of our times and to boldly provide the initiative,” Marcos Sr. said.
The President-elect recently shocked many by voluntarily taking on the portfolio of the Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary amid prospects of tightened food supply and skyrocketing prices.
This move mirrors Marcos Sr.’s remarks in the same speech: “Our people sought a new administration in the expectation of a meaningful change – certainly a bolder, more courageous approach to our problems.”
Sacrifice, heroes needed
With the challenges of 2022 and beyond clearly stated, Marcos Jr. is expected to rally his kababayans with equal parts fervor and vigor.
His father did this nearly six decades ago by asking public servant to sacrifice for the sake of the public, and the for public to tap into their inner “hero”.
“I, therefore, first call upon the public servants for self-sacrifice. Long have we depended upon the people. In every crisis, we call upon our citizens to bear the burden of sacrifice. Now, let the people depend upon us,” Marcos Sr. said.
He added: “We must awake the hero inherent in every man. We must harness the wills and the hearts of all our people. We must find the secret chords which turn ordinary men into heroes, mediocre fighters into champions.
“Not one hero alone do I ask from you – but many; nay all, I ask all of you to be the heroes of our nation,” the late President said.
Marcos Jr.’s inauguration will take place at the National Museum in Manila.