14 Takeaways From President Bongbong Marcos' Inauguration Speech
During his inauguration speech at the National Museum, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. laid out his plans on key issues, including public health, education, and agriculture, among others. His 25-minute talk also referenced his father (former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.), the Duterte administration, and his "campaign strategy" in the past elections.
1. Of course, unity
"When my call for unity started to resonate with you, it did so because it echoed your earnings, mirrored your earnings, and expressed your hopes for family, for country, and for a better future."
He added: "We are here to repair a house divided, to make it whole and to stand strong again in the bayanihan way expressive in our nature as Filipinos."
2. Homage to Sr.
Marcos Jr. had multiple references to his father, Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.
"I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence. In a land of people with the greatest potential for achievement, and yet they were poor. But he got it done. Sometimes with needed support, sometimes without. So will it be with his son -- you will get no excuses from me," he said.
The president also claimed: "We resisted and never failed to defeat foreign attempts to break up our country in my father's watch. His strongest critics have conceded that."
3. Addressing his perceived "silence" during the campaign
"I did not talk much in this campaign. I did not bother to think of rebutting my rivals. Instead, I searched for promising approaches better than the usual solutions. I listened to you. I did not lecture you who has the biggest stake in our success."
4. Thanking the Duterte Administration
"You got by," he said, referring to the Filipino people. "Getting some of what you needed with the 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."
5. "Government will get as much done alone without requiring more from you."
"Imagine a country that, in almost every sense, is you. Now imagine what you and government can achieve together. We did it in the pandemic. We will do it again. I will not predicate my promise to you on your cooperation," he expressed. "You have your own lives to live. Your work to do, and there to will help. Government will get as much done alone without requiring more from you."
6. What our foreign policy might look like
"Friendship with all," he said at one point when referring to the conflict in Ukraine and long-view geopolitics. The president also claimed that his government will be open to suggestions, even contrary views, just as long as it is from his people. "We can trust no one else when it comes to what is best from us... solutions from outside divided us."
7. Teasing us with his economic strategy
"We are presently drawing up a comprehensive, all-inclusive plan for economic transformation... The pandemic ravaged bigger economies than us and the virus is not the only thing to blame. What had been well built was torn down. We will build back better."
8. Acknowledging the needs of the agriculture sector
Since Marcos will also be heading the Department of Agriculture, he referenced his vision for the industry.
"The role of agriculture cries for the urgent attention that its neglect and misdirection now demands. Food self-sufficiency has been a key promise of every administration. None but one delivered," the president said. "There were inherent defects in the old ways and in recent ways, too. The trade policy of advantage made the case that when it comes to food sufficiency, a country should not produce, but import what other countries make more of and sell cheapest."
He continued: "It (food sufficiency) is more than a livelihood. It is an existential imperative and even a moral one. An agriculture damaged and diminished by unfair competition will have a harder time or will have no prospects at all of recovery."
9. His views on energy
"There is a parallel problem in our energy supply. Sufficient fossil fuel-free technology for whole economies has yet to be invented. And it is not seriously tried by rich countries. Again consider the response of the richest countries to the war in Ukraine, but surely a free world washed with oil can assure supplies or we will find a way. We are not far from oil and gas reserves that have already been developed."
10. Education redirection
"What we teach in schools, the materials used, must be retaught. I'm not talking about history. I'm taking about the basics: the sciences, sharpening theoretical aptitude and imparting vocational skills such as in the German example. Alongside the national language, with equal emphasis and facility in a global language, which we had and lost."
President Marcos also reaffirmed his belief in Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, who will be heading the Department of Education, to get the job done.
11. Support for teachers and overseas Filipino workers
In connection with globally competitive education, Marcos also pointed out that the government can do more to equip teachers and OFWs.
"Let us give OFWs all the advantages they can have to survive and thrive. Our teachers from elementary up are heroes fighting ignorance with poor paper weapons. We are condemning the future of our race to menial occupations abroad. They are exploited by traffickers."
12. On future health crises and public health
The president explained: "We won't be caught unprepared, underequipped, and understaffed to fight the next pandemic. To start with, we never got over the pandemic of poor if any free public health. The last major upgrade of a public health system exemplified by the resources poured into Philippine General Hospital (PGH) predates the current shambles by three generations."
President Marcos also recognized Filipino nurses as "the best in the world." He added: "They acquainted themselves with the highest distinctions abroad, having suffered even the highest casualties with the same exemplary dedication. At home, they just got by. They are out there because we cannot pay them for the same risk in workload that they have back here. There will be changes starting tomorrow. I am confident because I have an Ople."
Susan Ople will serve as the migrant workers secretary in the administration.
Marcos also acknowledged that there were shortcomings in the COVID-19 response, but had said that his administration will fix them.
13. Infrastructure plans
In his speech, he also talked about his father's supposed infrastructure projects, comparing them to outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte's.
"My father built more and better roads and produced rice than all administrations before him," said President Marcos Jr. "President Rodrigo Duterte built more and better than all the administrations succeeding my father's." He also promised to continue the projects and programs his predecessor started, and that the new Marcos administration will be presenting a comprehensive infrastructure development plan soon.
14. Addressing climate change
President Marcos did say that, as the third-largest plastics producer in the planet, we must have a shared responsibility to take care of the environment. He said that there has not been a large-scale solution to pollution yet.