Repairing “a divided house’

Repairing “a divided house’

President Bongbong Marcos and Executive Secretary Atty. Vic Rodriguez in a meeting with his economic team

In his 30-minute speech that echoed his campaign slogans of unity, the 64-year-old Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vowed to repair “a divided house” and to take the country far under his watch with policies that would benefit every Filipino people.

After winning the presidential race with a solid mandate in the last May 9 elections, BBM formally took the reins of government after taking his oath of office on Thursday before Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo at the historic National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila, his left hand resting on an old Bible used by his 48-year-old father when he himself took his oath as president for the first time on December 30, 1965, following the elections that year when he defeated re-electionist, Diosdado Macapagal.

“I am here not to talk about the past, I am here to tell you about our future. A future of sufficiency, even plenty of readily available ways and means to get done what needs doing. By you, by me,” Marcos said after he was sworn in as the country’s new leader.

The newly-installed President BBM promised on Thursday to transform the Philippines into an “agile and resilient” nation under his leadership.

“We are here to repair a house divided, to make it whole, and to stand strong again in the Bayanihan way expressive of our nature as Filipinos,” the President said.

“We shall seek, not scorn, dialogue; listen respectfully to contrary views; be open to suggestions coming from hard thinking and unsparing judgment but always from us Filipinos.”

He vowed to give priority to the implementation of programs and measures intended for the country’s attainment of food self-sufficiency amid a looming food crisis due to various factors.

BBM expressed confidence Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio will undertake reforms in the country’s education system purportedly to prepare Filipino students for more and better jobs.

He also highlighted the importance of strengthening and cultivating relationships with the other states, saying the transformation of the world economy and post-pandemic recovery depend on its partnership with other countries.

President Marcos said: “This is a historic moment for us all. I feel it deep within me. You, the people have spoken and it is resounding.

“When my call for unity started to resonate with you, it did so because it echoed your yearning, mirrored your sentiments, and expressed your hopes for family, for the country and for a better future. That is why it reverberated and amplified as it did, to deliver the biggest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy.

“By your vote, you rejected the politics of division. I offended none of my rivals in this campaign. I listened instead to what they were saying and I saw little incompatibility with my own ideas about jobs, fair wages, personal safety, and national strength and ending want in a land of plenty.”

He added: “I believe that if we focus on the work at hand, and the work that will come to hand, we will go very far under my watch. You believe that too. And I listened to your voices who are calling for unity, unity, and unity.

“We will go further together than against each other, pushing forward not pulling each other back out of fear, out of a misplaced sense of weakness. But we are the furthest from weak. The Filipino diaspora flourishes even in the most inhospitable climes, where they are valued for their quality.

“The changes we shape will benefit all and will shortchange no one. I was not the instrument of change, you were that. You made it happen. I am now.”

The President’s speech continues to resonate among the people — from Batanes to Tawi Tawi — noting that he has urged them to keep their hopes alive for a better future.

He touched a sentimental chord among his countrymen when he said their hopes and dreams are his as well.

And he would deliver on his promises without making “excuses” or further burdening the 110 million countrymen.

Let’s listen to the President: “You picked me to be your servant to enable changes to benefit all. I fully understand the gravity of the responsibility that you’ve put on my shoulders. I do not take it lightly but I’m ready for the task.

“I will need your help. I want to rely on it but rest assured I do not predicate success on the wide cooperation that’s needed. I will get it done.”

Apparently referring to his father, BBM said: “I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence in a land filled with people with the greatest potential for achievement, and yet they were poor.

“But he got it done. Sometimes, with the needed support. Sometimes, without. So, will it be with his son. You will get no excuses from me.”

He added: “I am here not to talk about the past. I am here to tell you about our future. A future of sufficiency, even plenty of readily available ways and means to get done what needs doing – by you, by me. We do not look back, but ahead. Up the road that we must take to a place better than the one, we lost in the pandemic.

“Gains made and lost. Opportunities missed. Well-laid plans were superseded by the pandemic. Indeed, ours was the fastest growing economy in the ASEAN byways now outdated. We shall be again, by radical change in the way the world must now work to recover what we lost in that fire and move on from there.”

We face prospects of the war abroad of which we are totally blameless. We seek friendship with all. But countries like ours will bear the brunt of it. And if the great powers draw the wrong lessons from the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, the same dark prospect of conflict will spread to our part of the world.

“Yet there is more out there. Like going forward with new ways of doing, that the pandemic forces to adopt, a stronger resilience, and quicker adaptability. They are our best prevention, they are our best protection. Quiet reflection in a rough and tumbled campaign of breadth and intensity never experienced reveals some of them.

“Such as the willingness to listen despite the noise, the hesitation to quarrel over differences, and to never ever give up hope of reconciliation. These gave me the piece to ponder deeper. There are hints of a road not taken that could get us out of here quicker, to something better, something less fragile.

“There is also what you the people did to cope but this time empowered by new techniques and more resources. You got by, getting some of what you needed with massive government help. And for this, I thank my predecessor for the courage of his hard decisions. But there is a way to put more means and choices in your hands. I trust the Filipino.”

The President said more.

The Filipinos believed him and were willing to lend him their hand to make this country rise from the division of the past electoral exercise.


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