Bongbong Marcos praises father's rule in first speech as president: 'He got it done, so will it be with his son'

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 30) — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has officially started his term as the 17th chief executive of the country, with the promise to get things done, just like what he said his late father did during his term.

"I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence, in a land of people with the greatest potential for achievement, and yet they were poor," Marcos on Thursday said in his inaugural speech, alluding to his father, late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

"But he got it done. Sometimes, with the needed support, sometimes without," Marcos added. "So will it be with his son. You will get no excuses from me."

"I am not here to talk about the past. I am here to tell you about our future. A future of sufficiency, even plenty of readily available ways and means to get done what needs doing — by you, by me. We do not look back, but ahead," he said.

Marcos was sworn into the highest post on Thursday, successfully reclaiming Malacañang 36 years after his father was ousted by Filipinos in a peaceful revolt.

Marcos also repeated his call for "unity," stressing the need to be open to different views and rebuild what the nation once lost due to political differences.

He thanked supporters who voted for him and "rejected the politics of division" during the May 9 polls. He said that he himself has never attempted to offend any of his rivals during the campaign, and instead, he listened to what they offered to the people.

"We are here to repair a house divided, to make it whole, and to stand strong again in the Bayanihan way, expressive of our nature as Filipinos," he said. "We shall seek, not scorn dialogue, listen respectfully to contrary views."

"Solutions from outside divided us, none deepened our understanding. They were always at our expense. Never forget, we are Filipinos, one nation, one republic indivisible," he said. "We resisted and never failed to defeat foreign attempts to break our country in my father's watch. His strongest critics have conceded that. So let us all be part of the solution that we choose."

Marcos also raised the need to reteach learning materials in schools, but clarified that he was not talking about history.

RELATED: Marcos pushes for revision of history textbooks: 'You're teaching the children lies' 

"I am not talking about history, I am talking about the basics, the sciences, sharpening theoretical aptitude and imparting vocational skills...Alongside the national language, with equal emphasis and facility in a global language, which we had and lost," he said in his speech.

He also gave a glimpse of his governance by mentioning the need to address other key issues, such as better labor opportunities for Filipinos here and abroad, improving the government's pandemic response, coming up with a comprehensive infrastructure plan, and addressing plastic pollution and climate change, among others.

RELATED: What to expect from new leaders, appointees under Marcos admin 

"You will not be disappointed, so do not be afraid," he said.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes said Marcos only heaped praises for his father's presidency during his speech and "conveniently avoiding any mention of the dictatorship [his father] is most notorious for." He added that the new president failed to give any concrete program to solve the issues that he raised.

"The major issues such as high oil prices, crushing taxes, low wages, and human rights were altogether ignored or left out," Reyes added.

Bayan was among the progressive groups that held a protest action during Marcos' inauguration on Thursday. Some martial law survivors also trooped to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani where they took an oath to "guard against tyranny, falsehoods, and trampling of people's rights and freedoms."

Under the Marcos regime, over 11,000 people fell victim to summary execution, torture, and other human rights violations, according to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. Amnesty International estimates some 70,000 were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured.

The Marcos family has also been accused of amassing billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth. The Bureau of Internal Revenue has yet to fulfill its commitment to comply with the Supreme Court order to collect ₱203 billion worth of their tax liabilities, including penalties and surcharges.

RELATED: Bongbong Marcos sworn in as 17th president of the Philippines

In an interview with CNN Philippines, martial law victim Doris Nuval said she does not expect Marcos to reach out to them, but noted, "If he's really sincere about unity, we think as Martial Law survivors, that unity should be based on justice."

She added that the dictator's son should acknowledge what occurred in the past and apologize for it to allow the victims to move forward.

Marcos previously told CNN Philippines that he couldn't apologize for the atrocities committed by his father.

READ: Bongbong Marcos not sorry for father's reign: 'I can only apologize for what I have done'