Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. took his oath as Philippine president on Thursday, completing a remarkable comeback for one of Asia’s most notorious political dynasties after it was ousted by a popular uprising in 1986.
In a speech that echoed his unity campaign slogan, Mr. Marcos, 64, vowed to fulfill his promises to Filipinos without any excuses, including giving them better lives. He urged the people to work with his government, adding that “we will go very far under my watch.“
“You will not be disappointed, so do not be afraid,” Mr. Marcos, better known as Bongbong, said at his inauguration ceremony, with his sister Imee, a senator, and 92-year-old mother Imelda seated close by.
Mr. Marcos, the son and namesake of the late dictator, won the May 9 election by a landslide and clinched a comeback for his family, which is still facing court cases involving ill-gotten wealth and unpaid taxes.
He thanked Filipinos for what he called “the biggest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy.”
Mr. Marcos praised his father’s regime, but said his presidency was not about the past, but a better future.
“I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence… But he got it done sometimes with the needed support, sometimes without,” he said in his 30-minute speech.
“So will it be with his son. You will get no excuses from me,” he said. “No looking back in anger or nostalgia.”
Ferdinand E. Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 for more than two decades, almost half of it under martial rule, until his overthrow by a “people power” revolt that sent his family into exile in the United States. He died in Hawaii three years later.
On Sept. 23, 1972, he announced on national television that he had placed the country under Martial Law, citing an alleged communist threat.
Proclamation 1081, which was dated two days earlier, abolished Congress and allowed him to consolidate power by extending his tenure beyond the two presidential terms allowed by the 1935 Constitution.
More than 70,000 people were jailed, about 34,000 were tortured and more than 3,000 people died under martial rule, according to Amnesty International.
The dictator stole as much as $10 billion (P549 billion) from the Filipino people, according to government estimates, earning him a Guinness World Record for the “greatest robbery of a government.”
In his speech, the younger Mr. Marcos said food sufficiency for a country battling spiraling prices would be among his top priorities.
“The role of agriculture cries for the urgent attention that its neglect and misdirection now demands,” said Mr. Marcos, who will will become the country’s Agriculture secretary. “Food self-sufficiency has been the key promise of every administration. None but one delivered.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza