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President Duterte: A message for everyone

PRESIDENT Duterte had a message for everyone in his inaugural speech yesterday.

For the common ordinary folk who have long seen the problems bedeviling the country – corruption, criminality, illegal drugs, breakdown of law and order – he said they have to be stopped by all means that the law allows.

For those who fear his unorthodox methods in fighting criminality which, he said, may verge on the illegal, he assured, “I know the limits of 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.”

For those in the government service, he called for the reduction of requirements and processing time for all applications, for transparency and adherence to rules in contracts, projects, and transactions.

For the Moro people, he welcomed their response to his call for peace. He assured his commitment to all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms. He also assured the inclusion of all indigenous peoples in the peace process.

And for the world of nations, he reiterated that the Philippines will honor all treaties and international obligations.

President Duterte delivered his brief inaugural address after a simple oath-taking ceremony before some 600 guests at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang. It was a departure from previous inaugurations, most of which were held at the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park.

Toward the close of his speech, he asked, “I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines…. Because I am ready to start my work for the nation.”

That, in sum, was the new president’s message to the nation and the world. He has repeatedly declared he will be making many changes in government, aimed at restoring the people’s faith and trust in the government. He has asked that the people join him in his efforts for change as no leader, no matter how strong, can succeed without them.

Now he is ready to work for the nation. Now the Duterte administration, with its promise of change, begins.