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Duterte takes oath as 16th president

After a landslide victory in last May elections, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will formally assume office today to start his six-year term as the country’s most powerful government official.

Duterte, who has promised sweeping change in a country weighed down by crime, corruption and poverty, is scheduled to take his oath as the country’s 16th president of the country this noon.

The tough-talking mayor of Davao City will take the place of outgoing President Aquino in a simple inaugural ceremony that will start at 10:30 a.m. in Malacañang. The inaugural ceremony will be attended by around 600 guests including top government officials, diplomats, family and friends.

Based on the tradition, the President-elect is expected to arrive at the Palace shortly before the inaugural ceremonial proper to pay a courtesy call on the outgoing President. Aquino earlier offered to help his successor even beyond his term, saying he hopes the reforms will be sustained to bring greater progress in the country.

“We share one country. We would like them to be able to build upon all of the things that we have started, we have implemented, we have completed, so we move parang ‘di ba further along the path of advancement for our country and our people,” the President said in a recent media interview.

“And to that, I think every patriot should be looking towards helping the incoming administration address the problems that are still here and the forthcoming problems that undoubtedly will happen in this period of global challenges,” he added.

After the brief meeting, the outgoing President will then be given final military honors at the sprawling Palace garden. His six-term term comes to a close as Aquino heads back to his newly renovated home along Times Street in Quezon City after the departure honors.

The inauguration proper will then begin inside the Rizal Hall in Malacañang.

Shortly after the national anthem, ecumenical prayer and inaugural song, the Senate President is expected to read the proclamation announcing the results of the elections. At noon, President-elect Duterte will be sworn into office.

After the oath-taking, the presidential anthem “Mabuhay” will be played and the military will render its first 21-gun salute to the new commander-in-chief.

Duterte will then deliver his inaugural address that will likely includes his programs and plans for the country. His first meeting with the Cabinet will be held after the inaugural ceremony.

Incoming Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar recently said the inaugural ceremony will be simple and highlight Filipino pride upon the request of Duterte.

Duterte is expected to wear a barong Tagalog made by Davao-based fashion house Chardin with black pants. The barong made of piña jusi fabric will have an embroidered pattern of Mindanao’s minority, the Manobo tribe.

“He wanted to incorporate a symbol to represent the 11 minorities in Mindanao. The tribal prints of the Manobo is the least complicated that’s why we have chosen that. It also shows the President’s simplicity,” designer Boni Adaza said. (GENALYN D. KABILING)