Photo from Presidential Photographers Division

Photo from Presidential Photographers Division

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte took his oath before more than 600 guests including government officials and the diplomatic corps inside the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañan Palace on Thursday, June 30.

Duterte arrived at the Palace at 10:25 am, barely two hours before he took his oath as the 16th President of the country.  His oath taking was administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.

Duterte and former President Benigno Aquino III had a tête-à-tête before Aquino was given departure honors.

During his inaugural speech, Duterte said that the people’s lack of faith and trust in government is a problem besetting the country.

“Erosion of faith and trust in government – that is the real problem that confronts us. Resulting therefrom, I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders; the erosion of faith in our judicial system; the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier,” he said.

Duterte reiterated his programs to curb corruption, criminality and the drug problem in the country.


The 71 year-old first President from Mindanao also asked Congress, the Commission on Human Rights and other government offices to allow him to pursue the campaign in a way that is “consistent to our mandate”.

He admitted that there are critics who see his methods of fighting criminality, drugs and corruption as “unorthodox and verge on the illegal”

“Let me say this: I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in.

I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships,” he said.

“I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings.”

“Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong,” Duterte said.

Duterte assured that as a lawyer and a former prosecutor, he knows his limits of power and authority.

“I know what is legal and what is not. You mind your work and I will mind mine,” he said.

Immediate directives

Duterte said that his full directives will be revealed in due time, but he immediately ordered the heads of government offices to reduce the requirements and the processing time of all applications “from the submission to the release.”

“I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to remove redundant requirements and compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all,” he said.

This order has been one of the policies that Duterte has included in his speeches during the campaign.

The President also wanted fewer number of signatures of government officials to hasten the processing of applications.

He also ordered the government heads to “refrain from changing and bending the rules government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation.”

“Changing the rules when the game is on-going is wrong,” he said.

He also said that he advocates for transparency in all government contracts and business transactions.

“Do them and we will work together. Do not do them, we will part sooner than later,” Duterte warned.

Duterte also said that his administration will honor treaties and international obligations.

Peace agreements

He also said that he will implement all signed peace agreements “in step with constitutional and legal reforms.”

The resumption of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front is among the first job that his incoming Cabinet appointees, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and government panel, Chief Negotiator, Sylvestre Bello III, worked on even before they took their oath.

After the success of the preliminary talks of both panels on June 14-15 in Oslo, Norway, the formal talks were immediately set to resume in July.

Duterte also said that he looks forward to the participation of indigenous peoples “to ensure inclusivity in the peace process.”

“Let me remind in the end of this talk, that I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class. I serve every one and not only one,” he said.

‘Rough ride’

Duterte said that his administration’s drive to effect “real change” will not be easy. He said that the people should actively take part.

Duterte, who carried the campaign slogan “Tunay na Pagbabago” (real change), said that his government will take that direction to afford genuine change on the country.

“The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest,” he said.

“Change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us,” Duterte said. (

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