President Rodrigo Duterte announced his readiness to start work after taking his oath on Thursday, June 30.
“I am ready to begin my work for the people of the nation,” said Duterte who issued a series of marching orders to government officials to usher in his campaign promise of change.
Among his directives were:
* cutting “red tape” on public service
* honouring international treaties and obligations
* “uncompromising” adherence to rule of law and due process
“As a lawyer and former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the President. I know what is legal and what is not. My adherence to due process and rule of law is uncompromising,” said Duterte whose unorthodox ways of fighting crime and illegal drugs have become cause for concern by human rights groups.
Duterte, however, made an appeal: “In this fight, I ask Congress and the CHR [Commission on Human Rights] to allow governance consistent to our mandate.”
The former mayor of Davao City defended his methods.
“I have seen how corruption bled, took government funds, which were allocated for [helping] the poor. I have seen how drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships,” said Duterte.
Also, Duterte reminded his audience of his campaign promise of “change”.
In a translation from Cebuano into English of a part of his speech that talked about change, Duterte said: “These are battle cries uttered by me in behalf of people hungry for change.”
Quoting from Filipino writer F. Sionil Jose, Duterte said: “We have become our worst enemies. We must have the will to change ourselves.”
Duterte also administered the Oath of Office to his Cabinet secretaries after his inaugural speech.
Duterte met with his Cabinet for their first official meeting.
Earlier on Thursday, Duterte was given full military honors on the courtyard of Malacanang.
He was welcomed by outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, who was given departure honors.