MANILA: Several decades of work have culminated with the swearing-in of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as president of the Philippines on Thursday (Jun 30).
Following his father’s overthrow in a popular uprising in 1986, his son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. won last month’s elections by an overwhelming margin.
Duterte, who acquired worldwide notoriety for his lethal drug war and has promised to execute suspected sellers after he leaves office, succeeds him in the presidency of the Philippines.
At 12:00, Marcos Jr will take the oath of office in front of hundreds of dignitaries, including Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and US Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, at the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila.
Police, troops, and coast guard officers have been stationed throughout the city to ensure the safety of residents and visitors during the inauguration.
Duterte met with Marcos Jr. in the presidential palace of Malacanang, where the Marcos family had gone into exile 36 years before.
For the encounter with Marcos Jr., Duterte, 77, wore a mask and his regular formal shirt, traditionally undone at the top and with sleeves pulled up.
An attempt to have Marcos Jr disqualified from office and prevent him from taking office was rejected by the Supreme Court just days before the ceremony was held.
To combat inflation, enhance growth, and increase food production in an economy already hit hard by COVID-19, Marcos Jr. has made these issues top priorities.
His unusual move to name himself agriculture secretary to oversee the rehabilitation of the troubled industry is noteworthy.
On the issue of the South China Sea, Marcos Jr. has vowed to uphold the Philippines’ claim to a large portion of it.
The president has shied away from interviews with the media and hence has provided few details on how he plans to accomplish his goals or give any indications of his leadership style.
Pro-Marcos Jr. commentator Rigoberto Tiglao recently expressed optimism for a “economic boom” under Marcos Jr.’s leadership.
At the same time, Tiglao emphasized Marcos Jr’s economic team, which includes “well-known professors” as well as “important magnates” who can offer him with guidance and funding.
A major misinformation campaign on social media propelled Marcos Jr. to power despite the fact that he comes across as more polite and businesslike than Duterte.
There was a flood of false or misleading posts promoting the Marcos family by pro-Marcos organisations, which ignored the corruption and human rights abuses of the patriarch’s 20-year reign.
Sara Duterte, Duterte’s daughter, won the vice presidency with more votes than Marcos Jr., and the support of opposing dynasties were crucial to his achievement.
But activists and religious leaders worry that despite the expectations of many that Marcos Jr. will be less violent and more predictable than Duterte Sr.
According to the communist coalition Bayan, Marcos Jr’s refusal to acknowledge past wrongdoing and praise for the dictatorship’s “golden years” puts him in a position where he is extremely likely to carry on that legacy during his time.
As Marcos Jr. separated himself from his father’s authority but not criticized it, he committed to “always strive for perfection.”
Most of the Cabinet seats have been his. It is expected that the most powerful adviser throughout his six-year term will be Louise, his wife, who claims to have no interest in joining his cabinet, but is largely thought to have overseen his election.
Philippine Employers Confederation President Sergio Ortiz-Luis said the country had a “great opportunity” of moving forward and ahead of the pack under the leadership of Marcos Jr.
Ortiz-Luis told AFP, “We are quite confident in the caliber of the leadership that we have now.”
Duterte turned away from the United States in favor of China, but Marcos Jr. has signaled that he plans to maintain a more equal relationship with both countries.
Marcos Jr. declared last month that he intends to pursue a foreign policy of “friends to all, enemies to none.”
He, on the other hand, vowed, unlike Duterte, that he would defend an international verdict against Beijing regarding the rich South China Sea in natural resources.
A strong drug war is unlikely to be enforced by Duterte because of his support for it, even if it has resulted in the deaths of thousands of primarily poor men.