Inaugural Address of the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines


June 30, 2010

The Inaugural Address of the 15th President of the Republic of The Philippines, Benigno Aquino III

His Excellency Jose Ramos Horta, Former President Fidel V. Ramos, Former President Joseph Estrada, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and members of the Senate, House Speaker Prospero Nograles and members of the House, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the foreign delegations, Your Excellencies of the diplomatic corps, fellow colleagues in government, aking mga kababayan.

My presence here today is proof that you are my true strength. I never expected that I will be here taking my oath of office before you, as your president. I never imagined that I would be tasked with continuing the mission of my parents. I never entertained the ambition to be the symbol of hope, and to inherit the problems of our nation.

I had a simple goal in life: to be true to my parents and our country as an honorable son, a caring brother, and a good citizen.

My father offered his life so our democracy could live. My mother devoted her life to nurturing that democracy. I will dedicate my life to making our democracy reach its fullest potential: that of ensuring equality for all. My family has sacrificed much and I am willing to do this again if necessary.

Although I was born to famous parents, I know and feel the problems of ordinary citizens. We all know what it is like to have a government that plays deaf and dumb. We know what it is like to be denied justice, to be ignored by those in whom we placed our trust and tasked to become our advocates.

Have you ever been ignored by the very government you helped put in power? I have. Have you had to endure being rudely shoved aside by the siren-blaring escorts of those who love to display their position and power over you? I have, too. Have you experienced exasperation and anger at a government that instead of serving you, needs to be endured by you? So have I.

I am like you. Many of our countrymen have already voted with their feet – migrating to other countries in search of change or tranquility. They have endured hardship, risked their lives because they believe that compared to their current state here, there is more hope for them in another country, no matter how bleak it may be. In moments when I thought of only my own welfare, I also wondered – is it possible that I can find the peace and quiet that I crave in another country? Is our government beyond redemption? Has it been written that the Filipino’s lot is merely to suffer?

Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people. It is not Noynoy who found a way. You are the reason why the silent suffering of the nation is about to end. This is the beginning of my burden, but if many of us will bear the cross we will lift it, no matter how heavy it is.

Through good governance in the coming years, we will lessen our problems. The destiny of the Filipino will return to its rightful place, and as each year passes, the Filipino’s problems will continue to lessen with the assurance of progress in their lives.

We are here to serve and not to lord over you. The mandate given to me was one of change. I accept your marching orders to transform our government from one that is self-serving to one that works for the welfare of the nation.

This mandate is the social contract that we agreed upon. It is the promise I made during the campaign, which you accepted on election day.

During the campaign we said, “If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor.” That is no mere slogan for posters — it is the defining principle that will serve as the foundation of our administration.

Our foremost duty is to lift the nation from poverty through honest and effective governance.

The first step is to have leaders who are ethical, honest, and true public servants. I will set the example. I will strive to be a good model. I will not break the trust you have placed in me. I will ensure that this, too, will be the advocacy of my Cabinet and those who will join our government.

I do not believe that all of those who serve in our government are corrupt. In truth, the majority of them are honest. They joined government to serve and do good. Starting today, they will have the opportunity to show that they have what it takes. I am counting on them to help fight corruption within the bureaucracy.

To those who have been put in positions by unlawful means, this is my warning: we will begin earning back the trust of our people by reviewing midnight appointments. Let this serve as a warning to those who intend to continue the crooked ways that have become the norm for too long.

To our impoverished countrymen, starting today, your government will be your champion.

We will not disregard the needs of our students. We will begin by addressing the glaring shortage in classrooms and educational facilities.

Gradually, we will lessen the lack of infrastructures for transportation, tourism and trade. From now on, mediocre work will not be good enough when it comes to roads, bridges, and buildings because we will hold contractors responsible for maintaining their projects in good condition.

We will revive the emergency employment program established by former President Corazon Aquino. This will provide jobs for local communities and will help in the development of their and our economy.

We will not be the cause of your suffering or hardship. We will strengthen collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and we will fight corruption in the Bureau of Customs in order to fund our objectives for the public welfare, such as:

  • Quality education, including vocational education, so that those who choose not to attend college or those who cannot afford it can find dignified livelihood;
  • Improved public health services such as PhilHealth for all within three years;
  • A home for every family, within safe communities.

We will strengthen the armed forces and the police, not to serve the interests of those who want to wield power with impunity, but to give added protection for ordinary folk. The armed forces and the police risk their lives daily so that the nation can live in peace and security. The population has doubled and yet their numbers remain unchanged. It is not right that those who make sacrifices are treated pitifully.

If there was a fertilizer scam in the past, today there will be security for farmers. We will help them with irrigation, extension services, and marketing their products at the best possible prices.

We are directing Secretary Alcala to set up trading centers that will directly link farmers and consumers thereby eliminating middlemen and opportunities for corruption. In this way, funds can be shared by farmers and consumers. We will make our country attractive to investors. We will cut red tape dramatically and implement stable economic policies. We will level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance to business. This is the only means by which we can provide jobs for our people.

Our goal is to create jobs at home so that there will be no need to look for employment abroad. However, as we work towards that end, I am ordering the DFA, POEA, OWWA, and other relevant agencies to be even more responsive to the needs and welfare of our overseas Filipino workers.

We will strengthen the process of consultation and feedback. We will strive to uphold the constitutional right of citizens to information on matters of public concern.

We relived the spirit of people power during the campaign. Let it take us to good and effective governance. Those who believe in people power put the welfare of others before their own.

I can forgive those who did me wrong but I have no right to forgive those who abused our people. To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all.

We are also happy to inform you the acceptance of Chief Justice Hilario Davide of the challenge of strengthening and heading a Truth Commission that will shed light on many unanswered issues that continue to haunt our country.

My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of Mindanao. We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflict, inclusive of the interests of all — may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian.

We shalI defeat the enemy by wielding the tools of justice, social reform, and equitable governance leading to a better life. With proper governance life will improve for all. When we are all living well, who will want to go back to living under oppression?

If I have all of you by my side, we will be able to build a nation in which there will be equality of opportunity, because each of us fulfilled our duties and responsibilities equally.

After the elections, you proved that it is the people who wield power in this country. This is what democracy means. It is the foundation of our unity. We campaigned for change. Because of this, the Filipino stands tall once more. We are all part of a nation that can begin to dream again.

To our friends and neighbors around the world, we are ready to take our place as a reliable member of the community of nations, a nation serious about its commitments and which harmonizes its national interests with its international responsibilities.

We will be a predictable and consistent place for investment, a nation where everyone will say, “it all works.”

Today, I am inviting you to pledge to yourselves and to our people. No one shall be left behind. No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more turning back on pledges made during the campaign, whether today or in the coming challenges that will confront us over the next six years. No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more.

We are here today because we stood together and believed in hope. We had no resources to campaign other than our common faith in the inherent goodness of the Filipino.

The people who are behind us dared to dream. Today, the dream starts to become a reality. To those among you who are still undecided about sharing the common burden I have only one question: Are you going to quit now that we have won?

You are the boss so I cannot ignore your orders. We will design and implement an interaction and feedback mechanism that can effectively respond to your needs and aspirations.

You are the ones who brought me here – our volunteers – old, young, celebrity, ordinary folks who went around the country to campaign for change; my household help who provided for all my personal needs; my family, friends, colleagues at work, who shared, cared, and gave their support; my lawyers who stayed all hours to guard my votes and make sure they were counted; and the millions of Filipinos who prevailed, kept faith, and never lost hope – I offer my heartfelt gratitude.

I will not be able to face my parents and you who have brought me here if do not fulfill the promises I made. My parents sought nothing less, died for nothing less, than democracy and peace. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward.

My hope is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and that we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation. Join me in continuing this fight for change.

Thank you and long live the Filipino people!

29 thoughts on “Inaugural Address of the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines

  1. Wonderfully crafted words. Won’t take long to see if at last someone is beginning to address the plight of the masses…

  2. Today is Inauguration Day in the Philippines. The 15th President, Benigno Aquino III takes over and begins a new era of hope and promise.

    The President has set up a Truth Commission “that will shed light on many unanswered issues that continue to haunt our country”. He is committed to fight for a better future for the next generation of Filipinos. Congratulations, Mr. President.–Din Merican

  3. New broom sweeps clean.

    Got to see whether the new President can walk the talk. In Philippines, the raw politics can turn angels into devils.

    We hear sweet nothings with every new leader when it comes to power.

    Look at former President Arroyo!!!! She turned into one of those corrupt Presidents of the past.

    Like our PMs of the past.

    Too early to pass judgment.

  4. Yes Frank , too early to pass judgement. But at least the speech was brilliant . Pity nobody in Malaysia can even think nor write a speech similar to this because dr mahathir even corrupted the minds of the speech writers .

  5. One thing you got to give credit to Filipinos. They truly have a free press and a much more independent judiciary.

    Philippines and Malaysia one common trait: Corrupt politicians and ministers.

    Philippines has better reputation than Malaysia, in that Malaysia has turned into a “TONGKAT ALI” society.

    Click here to read Azly Rahman’s article “The Rise of the Tongkat Ali Society”

    Excerpts:

    “….We have seen the change from race-harmony to madani (modern) to hadhari (civilised) to a ‘tongkat ali’ society, based on the national slogans we ascribe to each period.

    We saw a genuine effort to engineer an evolution of society based on respect and accommodation of the variety of ethnic groups in the 70s and 80s. In the 80s and 90s, we saw the rise of sophisticated racism and the bipolar, yet subtle breakdown of race relations.

    ….he ‘tongkat ali society’ is here. And for Malaysians it signifies the advent of an economic system that produces leaders and a rakyat that are hyper-ventilating in their pursuit of the meaning of the words peace, harmony and happiness.

    Rather than seeking cerebral solution to social issues and meaningful living, we are seeing libido at play. Massive gambling, politician-buyouts, the awarding of billion-ringgit projects to political cronies, the birth of hate-groups and the rise and slow demise of racist politicians.

    All these are manifestations of the rise of the ‘tongkat ali society’.

    It is characterised by the death of a reflective society and the muting of critical sensibility. Because so much libido is embalmed in the minds of the powerful and so much power is given to the robber barons to plunder – society is now becoming an enhanced entity that cares more about the acquisition of wealth and property by any means necessary and less about the fate of generations to come. …..”

  6. But at least the speech was brilliant -jeffery gascon

    But Filipinos are internationally known as good talkers. They can really talk.

    Filipino politicians can talk nonstop from dawn to dusk. And do make an effort to give good, most times, convoluted speech.

    Malaysian brains tend to be wired short ,A to B, like a short fuse.And they are lousy speech makers.

  7. Its the Malay business model which have not change since the Sultan days (rampok and poll tax), if you want my protection
    “Rather than seeking cerebral solution to social issues and meaningful living, we are seeing libido at play. Massive gambling, politician-buyouts, the awarding of billion-ringgit projects to political cronies, the birth of hate-groups and the rise and slow demise of racist politicians.”
    Compared to the Chinese Business Model which is generally Market Oriented.
    But then again its in the Malay DNA. How to change that?

  8. “Have you ever been ignored by the very government you helped put in power? I have. Have you had to endure being rudely shoved aside by the siren-blaring escorts of those who love to display their position and power over you? I have, too. Have you experienced exasperation and anger at a government that instead of serving you, needs to be endured by you? So have I.”

    Looks like he is talking about Malaysia?

  9. Compared to the Chinese Business Model which is generally Market Oriented.– Sabah Sifu

    Nonsense.

    Chinese Business Model is “I scratch your back, you scratch mine,” with plenty of bribes going through under the table.

  10. That is market forces, the Malays use their profits to get a new girlfriend, the Chinese plow it back, use it as back scratcher or shoving it under the table.

  11. I WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE, THE REAL NEW LIFE .IN MY OWN COUNTRY,I AM SO HAPPY THAT WE HAVE A NEW LIFE.I REALY DONT WANT TO BE IN THE OTHER COUNTRY IF I JUST CAN HAVE A GOOD LIFE IN MY OWN COUNTRY.IT IS REALY DIFFIRENT TO BE IN YOUR OWN HOME LAND. SO PLS. OUR DEAR PRES.OF THE PHIL.I BEG YOU TO BRING ALL US BACK HOME THANK YOU GOD TO HAVE HIM.PLS GOOD LORD TAKE CARE OF THIS MAN.AMEN.,

  12. Mr President

    Tackle the influx of illegal Filipino immigrants here especially in Sabah.
    No point promising this and that when your people are poor and run to another country for jobs.
    Please also take care of the Mindanao Muslims.
    Also please get yourself a wife.
    I am sure many, many Filipino beauties are queuing up to become First Lady.
    Najib has invited you to visit Malaysia.
    Rosmah will have no company to talk about shopping.

  13. Mr President….Also please get yourself a wife.I am sure many, many Filipino beauties are queuing up to become First Lady.– sayang bangsa

    Bodoh punya anak melayu malu bangsa

  14. The speech is like a breath of fresh air. It carries a message of hope for the down trodden masses .But simple gestures will herald big changes. ” ..HAVE YOU HAD TO ENDURE BEING RUDELY SHOVED ASIDE BY THE SIREN BLARING ESCORTS OF THOSE WHO LOVE THE DISPLAY OF THEIR POSITION AND POWER OVER YOU? I HAVE TOO…” MR PM, DIM PM, SULTANS & GOVERNORS take note !!! MOST COUNTRIES including LATIN AMERICA have done away with SIREN BLARING ESCORTS when their PRESIDENTS[ only one holder of office]. The USA and third world AFRICAN COUNTRIES are the FEW THAT CONTINUE THE PRACTICE !!! Good LUCK Mr PRESIDENT in your pursuit to bring change and prosperity to the down trodden masses in your country !!!

  15. In the end we all become products of our environment. I wish the new President all the best in his efforts to try and change the environment in which he is going to work.

  16. According to Aljazeera, the Philippines is one of the most deadly
    countries in the world for investigative journalists.

    Landlord-sponsored private armies in the countryside.

  17. “Chinese Business Model is “I scratch your back, you scratch mine,” with plenty of bribes going through under the table.” Frank

    Malay Business Model: You scratch my back. Maybe I’ll scratch yours – which explains why the Malays don’t make good businessmen.

    Indian Business Model: First you scratch my back, then and I’ll scratch you out – which make the Indians business partners to watch.

  18. “No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more turning back on pledges made during the campaign, whether today or in the coming challenges that will confront us over the next six years. No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes” Aquino

    Sounds very familiar. I hope Pinke Lips is reading this and will reflect upon himself the excesses of Mah Che Cot and their cohorts. And when they leave I hope the person who takes over will say all that is to be said about the evil Umno and the devilish Maha Firaun who single-handedly destroyed democracy. I’ll wait for that moment to come.

  19. Brilliant. Very inspirational. It makes me to daydream that Super Heroes are real. If Noynoy can achieve just 20%, then he is already great. Nevertheless, all the best Mr President. The right path starts with the right pledge.

    Yes, I agree with an earlier comment, we miss great speeches in Malaysia. The mental faculty for writing great speeches are no longer available.

  20. Yes Tok Cik we shall together wait for the auspicious moment to come. It sound very familiar to me too.

    I heard the same from him, the man whose entire life being dedicated to struggles for change, currently being under scrutiny by his own so called hard core supporters. They seemed ill disposed towards him and his pledges.

    The man who wasn’t adequately or powerfully mandated, so as to allow him to fullfil his pledges and promises made during the last General Election, has now taken to task for not being able to bring about the aforesaid change and reform. There seems to have been a subortage or it might be a matter of being impatience due to sheer ignorance.

    The people of Philippines has given their mandate to enable Mr Aquino to render his Presidential Inaugural Address, while we Malaysian are busy whingeing on the why and what and what’s not for the rest of our life. We can’t be expecting him to do the change by himself.

    By the look of it, our voters are not yet ready for change. Malaysian Voters are of different types and categories, three types of voters says Frank, he’s right. If it wasn’t for them we would have had the opportunity to listen to a better Inaugural Address or Speech from the man himself, the” wannabe PM”, the tittle being unfairly used by some ungrateful goons to describe him for his struggles for change.

    We shall wait for the new dawn, wait for the moment to come.

  21. As fellow human you have to trust some one and believe in some thing, otherwise your life would be meaningless. If you continue to say no, then you may neither trust your ownself. If that being the case, you will be deprived of your right to trust or to believe in anything at all in this life. If you can’t trust politicians, then you ought to stop getting yourself involved in their political affairs. That’s the best thing you can do just for yourself but not necessarily for the others in this blog.

  22. Dear knk,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I dont trust any politicians. I only trust myself. I dont see myself depriving my right to trust if I merely dont trust any politicians. For the Phillippines, many before Benigno Aquino have uttered the same promises and look what is happening to that country today. Corruption, abuses and what nots are still as rampant as ever. I am not pouring cold water but in time we will see it will be the same old, same old in the Phillippines.

    As for Malaysia, I am a realistic person. During the run-up to the last GE, I been to numerous ceramahs. I heard how Dato Sallehuddin talked about abuses of power by UMNO. I heard Wee Choo Keong’s promises about how he is going to fight for the people etc etc etc. Well, at the end of the day look what happened to these chaps?

    Malaysia, like the Phillippines cant be saved because no matter how is in power … the abuses will still be there.

  23. JJx
    As far as those chaps you mentioned are concerned, your argument may be valid, but not all politicians are the same. It would be very unfair to includes the rest of the politician with those what we called defectors- frogs. We must trust some one, afterall politic is unpredictable. We need to have a two partys system.

  24. Hi knk
    Two party system?
    In the US, there are voices of disagreement onDemocrats and Repiblicans.
    They said it’s just two parties but same policy.
    Same goes to our politial parties.
    I dont see any difference between PKR and BN.

  25. Dear knk,

    Yes, the likes of Wee & Zahrain are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more in PKR and to some extend DAP. Look at the moves Azmin Ali is making of late. The reason why Khalid have got to be removed is that the next chap who takes over can dish out contracts to cronies via BN style.

    I dont kid myself any longer about Malaysia. We are doom either way. The best is to believe in ourselves, earn whatever we can and vote with our feet i.e. migrate.

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