President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday reiterated his vow to put a stop to corruption and criminality in the country, while Vice President Leni Robredo pledged to act on the needs of those at the fringes of society.
The president delivered his inaugural speech at Malacañang, while the vice president spoke at the Quezon City Reception House, in separate inaugural rites.
“I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here…because I am ready to start my work for the nation,” Duterte said.
Robredo said “The chosen direction of our President and our plans for the country have wide intersections and converge on the singularity of this vision: of bringing real prosperity to our people, especially those that have been left behind.”
Duterte vowed to act of the problems that bedevil the country, citing corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality in the streets, the rampant sale of illegal drugs and the breakdown of law and order.
“They have to be stopped by all means that the law allows,” he said.
Duterte also pointed out that the erosion of faith and trust in government is the real problem that confronts the nation. “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,” he said.
In the battle for reform, Duterte said he asks “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.”
Duterte also assured that, as a lawyer and a former prosecutor, he knows the limits of the power and authority of the president, and what is legal and what is not.
“They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal,” he said, but assured that his “adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising.”
Duterte said “love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished 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.”
The president directed all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, from the submission to the release.
He also ordered them to refrain from changing and bending the rules for government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation. Changing the rules when the game is on-going is wrong, Duterte said.
Duterte said he advocates 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,” he told those in government.
On the international front, Duterte said the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations.
And on the domestic front, the president said his administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.
Duterte said he was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. “I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class. I serve every one and not only one,” Duterte said.
Robredo, in her inaugural speech, said “This journey is not just about us. This is a chance to bring those at the fringes of society to prosperity — in a bigger, more powerful way”.
“The only way for all of us to realize our vision for our nation is to work together”, Robredo added.
“During these times when there seem to be significant divisions and conflict in the world, the challenge is to come together, celebrate our commonalities and differences, and turn them all into strengths,” she said.
“Ours will be a listening office. We seek to unite the government and the private sector in a partnership for change, for those at the fringes of society that we have vowed to serve,” Robredo said.
She said her main priorities will be to address hunger and food security, universal health care, rural development, education and people empowerment.
“In these areas, there is no time to lose because every day, there is real suffering on the ground,” she said.
Robredo said in her first 100 days, she plans to go to the farthest and the smallest barangays to listen to what the people want changed.
“Whatever change we want to see in our nation must begin within ourselves. And when we do that together, nothing is impossible,” she said, adding, “Today is the start of the fulfillment of these dreams.”*CPG
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