Leaning on the “biggest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy”, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. echoed his campaign call for unity, and extolled the Filipino people to “not look at the past, but look at the future”.
“Pinakinggan ko ang inyong tinig na nagsabing: Pagkakaisa, pagkakaisa, pagkakaisa (I listened to your voice which said unity, unity unity),” said Marcos before a crowd of 5,000 that gathered in front of the historic National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila.
Also in attendance were Marcos's political allies from both chambers of Congress, living former presidents, foreign dignitaries and other special envoys whom the newly-installed leader has already hosted courtesy calls to in the days leading to the inauguration, as well as other VIP guests.
Marcos assured the Filipino people that he shared their dreams, and that they will hear “no excuses” in the next six years of his presidency.
“Your dreams are mine. Ang pangarap n’yo ay pangarap ko din,” said Marcos, who became the country’s 17th Chief Executive, and the seventh in the post-EDSA era.
Amid a festive atmosphere, Marcos, 64, took his oath before Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo at the National Museum in Ermita, Manila.
Thousands of Marcos's supporters cheered as the former senator and Ilocos Norte governor was sworn into office. They waved Philippine flags of different sizes and predominantly wore red-colored shirts.
"This is a historic moment for us all. I feel it deep within me; you, the people, have spoken, and it is resounding," Marcos said to start his inaugural address, which directly followed the oath-taking. The speech was less than 30 minutes long.
"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," he confidently said. "You believe that, too."
For the skies to remain free of rain clouds in this part of Manila up until this point could be described as a major victory for the Marcos camp as it had been wary of a heavy downpour. But there was no such rebuke from the heavens Thursday.
Accompanying Marcos to the National Museum was the First Family--his wife, Liza; and their three sons Sandro, Simon, and Vincent.
While his oath-taking didn't take place at Quirino Grandstand--his first choice --the former UniTeam bet's accession to Malacañang still felt surreal given the sheer amount of time--36 years--that it took for a Marcos to return to the Palace as an official resident.
"Yes! Presidente na si BBM (BBM is finally president!)" shouted a random man in the crowd as if had won the lottery.
Marcos's last father, Ferdinand Sr., served as Philippine president from 1965 to 1986. The latter took his oath at Quirino Grandstand when he first became president almost six decades ago.
During the May 9 elections, Marcos garnered 31 million votes on route to the biggest majority mandate a Filipino presidential aspirant has achieved.
"I was not the instrument of change; you were that. You made it happen. You picked me to be your servant, to enable changes to benefit all. I fully understand the gravity of the responsibility you put on my shoulders. I do not take it lightly, but I am ready for the task," the newly-inaugurated leader said.
Marcos went on to offer hope to his countrymen amid the many challenges that the Philippines is facing.
"You will not be disappointed, so do not be afraid. With every difficult decision that I must make, I will keep foremost in my heart and my mind the debt of gratitude I owe you for the honor and responsibility you have conferred on me," he said. The crowd responded with a round of applause.
"I will try to spare you; you have your other responsibilities to carry. But I will not spare myself from shedding the last bead of sweat or giving the last ounce of courage or sacrifice."
He said that it's the entire Filipino nation that he draws his confidence from.
"And if you ask me why am I 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.
"Believe. Have hope. The sun also rises like it did today, as it will tomorrow. And as surely as that, we will achieve the country all Filipinos deserve. God bless the Philippines, God bless our world," Marcos said. ###