Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Presidential Inaugural Address

delivered 30 June 2016, Malacañang Palace, Manila, Republic of the Philippines


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

  President Fidel Ramos, Sir, salamat po sa tulong mo [thank you for your help] making me President; President Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Senate President Franklin Drilon and the members of the Senate; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and the members of the House of Representatives; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court; His Excellency Giuseppe Pinto and the members of the Diplomatic Corps; incoming members of the Cabinet; fellow workers in government; my fellow countrymen:

No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve.  It is the people from whom democratic governments draw strength, and this Administration is no exception. That is why we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs, and fortify their faith and trust in us whom they elected to public office.

There are many amongst us who advance the assessment that the problems that bedevil our country today, which need to be addressed with urgency, are corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality in the streets, and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippine society, and the breakdown of law and order.

True, but not absolutely so. For you see, these ills are mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society. I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together. But of course, it is not to say that we will ignore them, because they have to be stopped by means -- by all means that the law allows.  Erosion of faith and trust in government -- that is the real problem that confronts us. Resulting therefrom, I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders, the erosion of faith in our judicial system, the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer, and healthier.

Indeed, our -- ours is a problem that dampen[s] the human spirit. But all is not lost.

I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of [il]legal drugs and corruption. They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal.

In response, let me say this:

I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in.

I have seen how illegal drugs destroy individuals and ruin family relationships.

I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatch from the innocent and the unsuspecting the years and years of accumulated savings, years of toil and then, suddenly, they are back to where they started.

Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong.

In this fight, I ask Congress and the Commission on Human Rights and all others who are similarly situated to allow us a level of governance that is consistent to our mandate. The fight will be relentless and it will be sustained.  As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the President. I know what is legal and what is not.  My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising.

You mind your work and I will mind mine. 

"Malasakit." [Compassion.] "Tunay na Pagbabago." [Real Change.] "Tinud-anay," [Real] "nga Kausaban" [change].

These are the words which catapulted me to the presidency. These slogans were conceptualized not for the sole purpose of securing the votes of the electorate. Tinud-anay nga Kabag-uhan [Real Change]. Mao kana ang tumong sa atong gobyerno. [This is the direction of our government.]  Far from that, these were battle cries articulated by me in behalf of a people hungry for genuine and meaningful change. But that change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us.

To borrow the language of F. Sionil Jose: We have become our own worst enemies. And we must have the courage and the will to change ourselves.1

Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished -- these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines. The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.

There are two quotations from revered figures that shall serve as the foundation upon which this Administration shall be built:

The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide [enough] for those who have [too] little2 -- 

states [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt.

And from [Abraham] Lincoln, I draw this expression:

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong;
You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; 
You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; 
You cannot further brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.

My economic and financial, political policies are contained in those quotations, though couched in general terms. Read between the lines. I need not go to specifics now. They shall be supplied to you in due time.

However, there are certain policies and specifics of which cannot help wait for tomorrow to be announced.

Therefore, I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications from the submission to release.

I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to remove redundant requirements, and compliance with one department or agency shall be accepted as sufficient for all.

I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules of government contract[s], transactions, and projects already approved and awaiting implementation. Changing the rules when the game is ongoing is wrong.

I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects, and business transactions from submission of proposals to negotiation to perfection, and finally, to consummation. Do them and we will work together. Do not do them, we will part sooner than later.

On the international front and community of nations, let me reiterate that the Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations.

On the domestic front, my Administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.  I am elated by the expression of unity among our Moro brothers and leaders, and the response of everyone else to my call for peace.  I look forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process.

Let me remind in the end of this talk, that I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. I was not elected to serve the interests of any [one] person or any [one] group or any one class. I serve every one -- and not only one.  And that is why I have adopted as an article of faith, the following lines written by someone whose name I could no longer recall. He said: I have no friends to serve. I have no enemies to harm.4

Prescending, therefore, I now ask everyone -- and I mean everyone -- to join me as we embark on this crusade for a better and brighter tomorrow.

But before I end, let me express, on behalf of the people, our condolences to the Republic of Turkey of what has happened in the place. We offer our deepest condolences.

Why am I here? Hindi kasali ito diyan. [This is not included (as part of my speech).] The past tense was, I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation.

Thank you and good afternoon.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

1 Source uncertain. Possibly paraphrased from a passage found in Ben Singkol: "You will find that our enemies are our own kin. It is they who betray us. So learn this most important lesson-in the end, our worst enemy is ourselves." [Analysis by ABS-CBN News]

2 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address. Note: Roosevelt's precise quotation uses the words "our progress" in place of "our government."

3 Quotation source often attributed to but not authored by Abraham Lincoln. Rev. William John Henry Boetcker is the apparent source as found in the so-called The Ten Cannots. Further information found here and here.

4 Source unknown.

Transcription Note: Principal transcription work by South Transcription Unlimited, Inc. | | | (+63) 920.921.8709. Supplementary transcription work and editorial oversight by Michael E. Eidenmuller.

Page Updated: 9/6/19

U.S. Copyright Status: Uncertain. According to Wikipedia, "no copyright shall be applied in any work of the Government of the Philippines." Whether and to what extent any rights may be extended to the specifically crafted work above in the U.S. is unknown. In addition, modifications to the original have been made, including Tagalog to English translations, to better accord with the audio delivery and to provide additional context (e.g., via hyperlinks).

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