Change has come to the doorways of the Malacanang Palace and Quezon City Executive House as the Philippines’ 16th President Rodrigo Duterte and 14th Vice President Leni Robredo was sworn into office on Thursday, June 30, 2016.
The two leaders have been said to be a formidable tandem being both lawyers and among the most exemplary public servants. Expectedly, what they brought to the table during last Thursday’s inauguration is consistent with the platforms they have been advancing in their past positions and in the course of their national campaign.
President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his three-fold main agenda: Corruption, Criminality, and Drug rampancy – which he attributed as symptoms of the erosion of people’s faith and trust to the government.
In keeping with his theme of governance – “real change” – he emphasized that the fight against these three ills will be relentless and sustained.
Inspired by the quotations by Roosevelt and Lincoln, he also implicitly quipped that he intends to add value and dignity to the lives of the poor without instigating class hatred among the people. Reading between the lines of his calls to action and peace addressed to the Congress and Commission on Human Rights, to the people, and to department secretaries and heads of agencies, he promised a law-abiding, transparent, inclusive, and impartial administration.
On the other hand, Vice President Leni Robredo once again raised her longtime advocacy on poverty alleviation. Alluding to President Duterte’s plans for the country, she said that just like his, hers were also in furtherance of making growth inclusive to all, particularly in uplifting the lives of those who are left behind and in bringing the government closer to those living in the outskirts.
The primary invocation she sets forth in her speech is to encourage everyone – the private and public sector, parties of all colors, and people from all walks of life – to go hand in hand in changing the system we’ve become used to.
She also underscored that the interests of the Filipino people shall always come first for as long as she lives. She envisions a government that is dependable and a nation that is empowered and holistically dignified in the areas of education, health, food, income, and their general welfare.
Respectively known for having an iron fist and a heart for the poor, President Duterte’s and Vice President Robredo’s promises seem to be a continuation of the work they already started before. Though, there is so much work to be done in as much as there is much to look forward to the present administration’s power duo. May we not only see change unfold through our eyes as promised by our leaders but also embody it ourselves in our homes and communities within the next six years to come. Together, we are better as a nation. Only then can we say that change has come indeed. (Mariz Patanao)