The inauguration of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late dictator, as the 17th president of the Philippines takes place at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila today, June 30, 2022.
The event happens amid multiple crises resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. PCIJ will track Marcos' promises in his address and post updates as they unfold.
WHAT HE SAID:
- Food self-sufficiency top priority for Marcos
- Marcos to continue Duterte's 'Build, Build, Build' despite ballooning debt
- Marcos says he will fix shortcomings in Duterte admin's Covid response
- Marcos’ climate message: mum on human rights, low in detail, high on false claims
- Marcos hails father in inauguration speech
- Marcos: History will not be retaught
- Marcos repeats false claim on Ilocos windmills
- Marcos promises to pursue independent foreign policy
WHAT HE DIDN'T SAY:
- Will we see the new President's SALN? Marcos quiet on FOI
- Marcos silent on attacks vs press freedom
- Marcos Marcos mum on the drug war, ICC probe
- Marcos mum on Bangsamoro peace process
- Marcos Jr. silent on corruption issues hounding family
Watch the inaugural speech here.
See who atttended Marcos' inauguration here.
Before he became president, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. expressed support for the passage of a Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, a law seen to help improve citizen participation but has been in legislative limbo for three decades.
“An FOI law would have allowed active public participation in stamping out corruption in government through easy disclosure of state action,” Marcos said as senator in March 2016.
But Marcos as president now made no mention of FOI or any acknowledgment of protecting citizens’ right to information in his inaugural speech today or even during his campaign.
This is a departure from his predecessors, who sought to prioritize information access initiatives despite criticisms about their implementation.
The late President Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino III committed to pass an FOI law as early as 2010 in his campaign, but that fell on deaf ears in both the 15th and 16th Congress. Instead, the executive branch during the Aquino administration made more budget information available, mandated agencies to automatically upload records on their websites under the Transparency Seal, and pursued open data, among others.
Among former President Rodrigo Duterte’s first set of executive orders meanwhile included Executive Order No. 2 (series of 2016), which provided for guidelines in accessing records from executive agencies. This order prompted the creation of the FOI portal.
The big elephant in the room now too is whether we will get to see a copy of Marcos’ Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) as president.
The last of Duterte’s publicly available SALN was released in 2018. The Office of the Ombudsman restricted access to asset records and has not released them since. The central office of the Office of the Ombudsman is the custodian of the SALN of presidents, vice presidents, and constitutional officials.
In January 2022, Marcos declined making his SALNs public as he claimed that it could be weaponized for political attacks. Later that month, in February, he said he was willing to release his asset record but emphasized that it is still the custodian’s discretion to do so.
Various groups urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ahead of his inauguration to undo his predecessor’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs. He was silent on the issue during his speech, however.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs killed innocent victims including children, leaving their families devastated emotionally and oftentimes financially.
The government reported at least 6,252 deaths at the hands of police during anti-illegal drug operations between July 2016 and May 31, 2022. But human-rights groups believe that the actual number could reach as high as 30,000 including victims of vigilante-style killings.
During the campaign, Marcos said he will continue Duterte’s campaign “but in a different way.”
“We have seen that the drug war has been conducted purely on enforcement side. I think we should also focus on the prevention side,” Marcos in an interview with CNN Philippines in October 2021. He spoke of rehauling rehabilitation centers and employing modern techniques to help patients.
Marcos will need to break the cycle of impunity in human rights violations. The killings need to stop — not just of drug war victims, but also activists, journalists, and the leftists. He will need to send a strong signal that the violence unleashed by Duterte will no longer be tolerated.
Marcos also needs to restore the rule of law and press freedom.
Carlos Conde, senior researcher at the Human Rights Watch, said Marcos can start by empowering the Commission on Human Rights and “put in place a structure or some system to make sure that accountability will happen at some point.”
Marcos was also urged to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC) and resume engagements with the European Union, the United States Government, the UN Human Rights Council, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
He was urged to cooperate with the ICC especially in the wake of Prosecutor Karim Khan request before the pre-trial chamber (PTC) to allow the resumption of investigations into Duterte’s war on drugs.
The probe was deferred upon the request of the Philippine government, but the new request means that Khan was not satisfied with investigations carried out by Philippine authorities.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s press secretary, lawyer Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles, said the new administration intends to maintain “good relationship” with the mainstream media and “regularly” address journalists.
It was a welcome pronouncement following his tense relationship with the media during the campaign. His camp has barred some journalists from covering his public caravan. He also missed debates hosted by the media and the Commission on Elections, a strategic move that political analysts called “a disservice to voters.”
In his inauguration speech, Marcos was silent on the recent attacks on press freedom, however.
Marcos also assumed the presidency in the wake of a string of attacks on press freedom as the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte was on its way out.
The Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the shut down online news group Rappler. The National Telecommunications Commission moved to restrict block-time agreements and mergers as broadcast firms TV5 Network and ABS-CBN Corp reportedly begin talks. The National Security Council ordered to block the websites of Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.
In a radio interview in January, Marcos Jr. said ABS-CBN should “fix their issues” first then leave it to Congress to study the franchise application. He was referring to the supposed tax and labor violations of the company, claims which the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Department of Labor and Employment has already said were untrue during the congressional hearings in 2020.
The labor department later contradicted itself and said they “found violations of laws and standards” but the company “took steps to correct these violations.”
His presidential bid also banked on support from bloggers, vloggers, and social media users to build up the family’s image and reputation.
A Rappler report showed that pro-Marcos vloggers formed a group and is already seeking accreditation with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The group, lobbying for access in Malacañang, is expected to be a counterpart to the press corps.
This preferential access to content creators over journalists is expected to continue as Malacañang reviews its policy on the accreditation of bloggers and vloggers, a priority of the Presidential Communications Operations Office under Cruz-Angeles, herself a vlogger who supported outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte then Marcos.
Marcos Jr.’s father and namesake clamped down mass media operations during martial law. This included the first shutdown of Lopez-owned broadcast firm ABS-CBN in 1972.
No issue is more local and urgent than the climate crisis. It is international and intersectional. The Marcos administration's climate action plan has largely been unclear since his proclamation. Even today, after his inaugural speech, he leaves more questions than answers.
But here are a few takeaways from his first speech as president:
First, Marcos seemed to follow former President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach when he initially aired his misgivings about the Paris climate agreement. The former president questioned how developed countries, which have historically benefited from the use of fossil fuel, had dictated the terms of the collective fund that would be used to help developing countries achieve climate goals. Duterte eventually signed it in March 2017.
“The rich world talks a great deal but does a lot less about it than those with much less but who suffer more death and destruction from climate change and lack of adaptation,” Marcos said.
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty that aims to avert climate catastrophe. A total of 196 parties, including the Philippines, submitted plans outlining commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in documents called the nationally determined contributions or NDC.
Based on the NDC that the Philippines submitted in April 2021, the Philippines is targeting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030. Accomplishing 72.29% of this goal depended on funding and assistance from the international community, based on the report.
The Marcos administration’s energy transition plan will need to be aligned with the country’s NDC to the Paris agreement.
Marcos claimed that “sufficient fossil fuel-free technology for whole economies has yet to be invented” and that “it is not seriously tried by rich countries.” This is partly true, but advanced economies like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria have shown examples of progress to tackle GHG emissions from energy generation. These countries along with several others topped the World Economic Forum’s latest Energy Transition Index (ETI). Solutions, albeit small in scale, can also be seen even in emerging and developing countries.
Second, Marcos seems intent to focus more on mitigation rather than prevention.
“First spare victims and help them recover, and move on to lessen the harmful impact of climate change,” he said.
In the last part of his speech, Marcos claimed that large-scale practical solutions to pollution have yet to be seen. “Though some are beginning to emerge, there are tried and proven new ways of mitigation,” he said without giving more detail.
Marcos did mention harnessing power from Ilocos Norte windmills, falsely claiming that he built them. But he was mum on renewable energy targets and how these will be achieved.
Marcos did mention of plans to include nuclear power into the country’s energy mix. If this proceeds, it is likely that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a project built during his father’s administration, will be revived. The plant has not operated due to issues of safety and corruption.
What he was more clear about is in the Philippines’ role in reducing plastic pollution.
“We too have our part to play. We are the third biggest plastics polluter in the world, but we won’t shirk from that responsibility. We will clean up,” he claimed.
The deadline to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is fast approaching. Decisions made this year, according to the April 2021 assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are said to determine whether the target is going to be met.
Like many of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries, experts agree that democracy and climate action should be at the center of the Philippines' environment agenda. Where destruction of forests happens, decline in democracy also persists. Across the globe, freedom has taken a backslide, with more countries in the Global South like the Philippines less free.
The case for journalists in these countries has not gotten better either as freedom of expression inherently is also under threat. As the climate crisis intensifies, the situation for frontline communities and defenders of the earth is also getting worse.
Global Witness in 2021 reported that on average, four defenders have been killed every week since the signing of the Paris climate agreement. This figure is almost certainly an underestimate. The Philippines has consistently ranked high among the deadliest countries for environmental defenders in the world. The recorded attacks were reportedly linked to resource exploitation – across logging, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure, mining, and large-scale agribusiness.
Marcos, whose family's legacy is tainted by some of the most horrifying human rights violations in history, has not made pronouncements on protecting the rights of climate and environmental defenders.
Climate change adaptation and mitigation along with a smart infrastructure development are expected to form part of the new administration’s medium-term socioeconomic blueprint, socioeconomic officials said on Monday, June 27. Details of such plans have yet to be laid out in the six-year Philippine Development Plan that each new administration formulates during its first year in office.
According to the Climate Reality Project, the country’s renewable energy transition will also determine “whether or not the Filipino people will finally enjoy cleaner air, healthier communities, and access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity.”
“Electricity rates are already high in the country due to imported fossil fuels whose prices are driven by the volatile global market. The same goes with nuclear energy as we would have to rely on imported uranium as nuclear fuel,” the group said.
As today, June 30, Marcos has yet to name who will lead the environment and energy departments.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr inherited the task of completing the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) including the appointment of 80 new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
The BTA will complete the codes of the now three-years old Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
During his inaugural speech on June 30, Marcos spoke of wanting “peace in our land” but he was mum about the specifics of his peace agenda.
“We all want peace in our land. You and your children want a good chance of a better life, in a safer, more prosperous country. All that is within reach of a hard working, warm and giving race. Your dreams are mine. Your hopes are my hopes,” he said.
“How can we make them come true? How can we do it together? But I will take it as far as anyone with the same faith and commitment can as if it depended entirely on himself. In our hope to make our country peaceful, your hope is my hope,” he added.
Mindanao observers are keen to see if Marcos will give the process the same commitment that President Rodrigo Duterte showed during his term, ushering in a period of relative peace in the region. Continued delays, it is feared, would push combatants to join other armed groups, which is plenty in the region.
“The single most important thing we can do, if we are trying to end terrorism in Southern Philippines, is to give all the support we can to make the BARMM successful,” Zachary Abuza, Southeast Asia expert at the U.S. National War College, told PCIJ in an earlier interview.
“Nothing will take the wind out of the sails of the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) and the Mautes… than a successful peace process.”
The decommissioning of 40,000 MILF combatants has yet to be completed, too. As of May 2022, the government said less than 20,000 had been decommissioned.
The process continued to face delays due to various issues such as funding gaps to fulfill development commitments to MILF communities, confusion over the coverage of benefits to be received by the combatants, and disagreements over the number of firearms the MILF is expected to decommission.
Duterte, the country’s first president from Mindanao, spent a lot of his political will on the peace process. His support was instrumental in the success of the January 2019 plebiscite vote, which led to the creation of the now three-year old BARMM. Last year, he also succeeded in persuading Congress to postpone BARMM’s first regular elections, effectively extending the MILF-led transition period for another three years.
In the May 2022 elections, the MILF endorsed his closest rival, former Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
“There should not be a place for corruption.”
This is what Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said during a briefing with three media entities as president-elect in May when asked about the alleged corrupt practices in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
But how he intends to solve corruption in government was missing in his inaugural speech today, only that he will have “no excuses” once he sits as president. He did admit “shortcomings” in the Duterte administration’s pandemic response, saying there will be “(n)o more secrets in public health.” (Last year, the Senate investigated Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. after bagging more than P10 billion worth of pandemic-related government contracts.)
Marcos Jr.’s family legacy is hounded by one of the worst corruption cases ever recorded in history. The family plundered billions of dollars in public funds. The Presidential Commission on Good Government, the agency mandated to recover all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the president’s father, his family and associates, in the Philippines or abroad, has yet to retrieve all such assets.
Moreover, the family remains to have unpaid taxes. In 1997, the Supreme Court ordered the Marcos heirs to pay P23 billion in estate tax. Experts say that amount is now worth P203 billion with penalties and interests accounted for. The president has not made any statement about the issue.
The Marcos matriarch, Imelda Marcos, is already convicted of seven counts of graft. In 2018, the former first lady was sentenced to imprisonment of 42 years and seven months to 77 years by the Sandiganbayan. She is also perpetually disqualified from public office.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Trixie Angeles said in May that Marcos Jr. will continue to face pending cases against the family.
When uncertainty has been the only constant for nearly two and a half years of the pandemic, Covid-19 response is indeed among the first and foremost challenges of the new administration. Cases of infection have generally gone down globally, but upticks persist with threats of new variants, subvariants and other viruses are at bay.
In his inaugural speech today, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. did not lay out details of how his administration would tackle the pandemic, but he pointed out that there were flaws in the Duterte administration’s Covid-19 response. He promised to fix them.
“There were shortcomings in the Covid response. We will fix them. Out in the open, no more secrets in public health,” he said without giving specifics.
Like his take on education in the same speech, Marcos cited longstanding issues such as access to free public health.
“We won’t be caught unprepared, underequipped, and understaffed to fight the next pandemic. To start with, we never got over the pandemic of poor, if any, free public health.”
One thing is for sure, however. Unlike the Duterte administration which resorted to prolonged lockdowns and Duterte himself intimidating the public for not getting vaccinated, Marcos Jr. cannot afford to do the same if he wants people, especially the poor and marginalized, to recover from the multiple and layered impacts of the pandemic and in turn improve confidence in the economy.
Showing Filipinos that they do not need to choose between their jobs and their health is imperative, said economist Ronald Mendoza.
“One of the things we should build towards is [putting] health and the economy together. The countries that did this as twin goals are the most successful. They don’t lock down because lockdown is a signal of failure. They don’t fail on search-control because you are buying your economy and your health system time to manage it better. That was the balance we really needed,” he told PCIJ in a January 2022 interview.
Appointing a new leader to take the helm of the health department is also key, he said. As of this writing, Marcos has yet to name a Department of Health chief. Six of the 29 core cabinet positions have yet to be designated.
Mendoza is the dean of the Ateneo de Manila University’s School of Government and a member of the Covid-19 Academic Crisis Response Consortium. (Explore PCIJ’s data on Bongbong Marcos’ appointees so far, their previously held positions and educational background.)
As of June 30, 2022, more than 3.7 million Filipinos were infected of Covid-19. More than 60,540 died, health data show.
Roughly 77% of the country’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated, as of May 2022. The National Capital Region and neighboring Calabarzon and Central Luzon, regions all in Luzon Island, continue to get a bigger share of the vaccine supply.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his inaugural speech promised to pursue an independent foreign policy as his new administration inherits the challenges that come with the great power competition between the U.S. and China.
“We can trust no one else when it comes to what’s best for us. Past history has often proven that. Solutions from outside divided us, none deepened our understanding,” he said without naming countries.
Marcos denounced interventions that he said came at the country’s expense. “They were always at our expense. Never forget we are Filipinos — one nation, one republic, indivisible. We resisted and never failed to defeat foreign attempts to break up our country in my father’s watch. His strongest critics have conceded that,” he claimed.
Duterte warmed ties with China despite the military superpower’s aggressions in the West Philippine Sea. He initiated but later canceled the abrogation of the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S. As he was about to end his term, the U.S. and Philippine militaries held their biggest war games yet.
In his final days in office, Duterte also decided to scrap joint oil and gas exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea. This allows Marcos a clean slate in managing the sea dispute.
Observers said Marcos should learn from Duterte’s administration.
Despite Duterte’s so-called pivot to China during his administration, Beijing continued to harass the Philippine Navy ships and civilian fishing ships in the West Philippine Sea, prompting the Department of Foreign Affairs to file hundreds of diplomatic protests.
Duterte betted on an Asean Code of Conduct, hoping China would cooperate in drafting it, but it “went nowhere.”
Abuza said China would continue “to pay very close attention to US-Philippine relations.”.
“The next president is going to be dealing with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping for the rest of their term because President Xi will get re-elected,” he said.
The U.S. is also expected to work towards keeping the Philippines, one of its oldest allies in the region, on its side.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan was present during Marcos’ inauguration while the U.S. sent the husband of United States Vice President Kamala Harris, Douglas Emhoff, to lead Washington D.C.'s delegation.
Newly sworn President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. promised that history will not be retaught in schools under his administration.
In his inaugural speech today, the president described his education agenda in broad strokes, one that he said would prepare the “coming generations for more and better jobs” instead of getting menial jobs abroad and being exploited by traffickers.
“What we teach in our schools, the materials used, must be retaught. I am not talking about history, I am talking about the basics, the sciences, sharpening theoretical aptitude and imparting vocational skills such as in the German example,” he said.
Setting and carrying out an education agenda amid a flurry of crises is indeed going to be the litmus test of Marcos putting his money where his mouth is.
As in previous pronouncements as president-elect, Marcos talked about “our teachers, from elementary, are heroes fighting ignorance with poor paper weapons.” He already said in news reports that he wanted to prioritize the welfare of teachers along with improving the country’s literacy rate. This should not come as a surprise as his predecessors have said the same thing. The real challenge lies in first, making these promises come true and second, sustaining them.
Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte for instance has failed to make good on his promise to raise teachers’ salaries and benefits, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.
Duterte for instance has yet to sign Senate Bill No. 2520, which would have made poll service honoraria tax-exempt, resulting in tax reimbursements of P1,800 to P2,400. The House of Representatives adopted the Senate bill on May 31, 2022.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition, another teachers’ group, asked Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio to fully implement provisions of the 56-year-old Republic Act No. 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, which stipulates overload or overtime pay. By law, teachers exposed to “hardships like difficulty in commuting to the place of work or other hazards peculiar to the place of employment” are entitled to “Special Hardship Allowances” or compensation equivalent to at least 25% of their monthly salary.
With Vice President Duterte at the helm of the Department of Education (DepEd), she inherits one of the biggest, if not the biggest problem of her father’s administration: addressing education needs beset with longstanding problems that have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since March 2020, teachers and learners continue to contend with a slew of problems to ensure that no student is left behind, from access to internet access and digital resources to mental health needs and other learning-from-home issues. Children in special education as well as their parents and guardians encounter a more demanding situation when face-to-face instruction is ideal.
The first year of the pandemic saw a huge drop in enrollment from kindergarten to senior high school by more than 25% from the previous 2019-2020 school year, DepEd data show. Keeping children in school and improving the quality of education by sustaining support for teachers and parents are going to be difficult but requisite demands of the new administration.
Education experts agree that education must adapt to the so-called ‘new normal’ to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the development of young children, who have been forced to stay at home.
In his first speech as president, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. claimed anew that he built the windmills in his home province Ilocos Norte. This has been fact-checked repeatedly. They were built by private companies.
“Blades have been turning over the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte, harnessing a power all around but unseen long before this day. I built them,” Marcos Jr. said in his inaugural address.
Marcos’s presidential campaign also capitalized on this narrative. One of his ads with then-running mate and now Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio was set against the backdrop of the windmills in Ilocos Norte, serving as a metaphor for development.
However, the Bangui Bay Wind Power Project was a project of private firm NorthWind Power Development Corp. and received funding from the World Bank.
The Caparispisan Wind Farm, also known as the North Luzon Renewables Wind Farm, was a joint venture of AC Energy, UPC Philippines, Mitsubishi Corporation’s Diamond Generating Asia, and the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure Fund.
The Burgos Wind Project, meanwhile, is owned and operated by the EDC Burgos Wind Power Corp., a subsidiary of Lopez-owned Energy Development Corp. and First Gen Corp.
Despite ballooning debt, Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ continues under Marcos Jr.
Even as the country registered a faster than expected gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter at 8.3%, inflation and supply chain woes caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and lockdowns in China are still set to challenge the country for the rest of the year and beyond.
Bar none, experts agree that the biggest challenge for the Marcos Jr. administration is the revival of the economy after a two-year pandemic slump.
In his inaugural speech, the president said he will “continue to build” – a comprehensive six-year infrastructure plan will be presented – with six years may be “just enough” to deliver it.
This comes as the president is in limited financial capacity as the country’s debt has reached P12.76 trillion, with debt-to-GDP ratio at 63.5% by the end of April 2022. Government think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies had already estimated that this may even increase to 66.8% by 2023 and 2024, before leveling off to 65.7% by 2026. To reach the ideal 40% debt-GDP ratio by 2041, or almost two decades from now, PIDS said a median annual increase of 0.86% of GDP must be achieved.
The president made no mention on how he will finance the infrastructure plan in his inaugural speech. There was also no mention of the debts incurred by the government during the pandemic.
In May 2022, outgoing Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez already bared a fiscal consolidation plan, which may help the Marcos administration to pay for the country’s pandemic-related debt of P3.2 trillion. The plan includes deferrals of the scheduled reduction on personal income taxes for 2023, repeals of value-added tax (VAT) exemptions for select goods, and imposition of VAT on digital services.
Marcos Jr. remains silent if he will follow the plan but incoming Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno already said he is not keen on raising taxes “immediately” and will focus on tax administration instead.
The president already said he is not keen on suspending the excise tax on fuel, despite its skyrocketing costs, and calls it a “blanket” solution. He said he will focus on those directly affected by the increasing oil prices instead, which may mean more subsidies.
In his first speech as president, he mentioned the country’s reliance on oil imports in relation to the country’s energy supply needs. He hinted the country may rely on its own oil and gas reserves.
The inauguration speech of newly sworn in President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was peppered with tributes for his father and namesake, the country's late dictator.
“I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since Independence in a land of people with greatest potential for achievement and yet they were poor. But he got it done,” Marcos said.
“So will it be for his son. You will get no excuses from me."
Marcos hailed his father's foreign policy. "We resisted and never failed to defeat foreign attempts to break up our country in my father’s watch. His strongest critics have conceded that."
He also claimed his father built "more and better roads."
Marcos Jr. was voted to power by over 31 million Filipino voters based on the false promise of bringing the country back to its "golden age" during his father's rule. The son is the first majority president since the 1986 People Power Revolution that ousted the family from Malacañang.
In reality, the economy was in shambles when President Corazon Aquino took over from Marcos in 1986.
Academic researchers from the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies Center said the Marcos family have, for decades, sought to revise history. One “key point” in this massive disinformation campaign before and after the 1986 Edsa revolt was “to deny they have looted the country,” said Joel Ariate, Jr.
The Edsa revolution led to the creation of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), a quasi-judicial government body whose primary mandate is to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family and their cronies.
Critics raised the alarm that a second Marcos presidency could undermine PCGG’s mandate. Marcos Jr. was mum on his plans for the PCGG during his inaugural speech but he earlier said during the campaign that he would “strengthen” the agency by allocating more budget and increasing their staff.
He also said that instead of directing the PCGG to go only after his family’s ill-gotten wealth, the agency should also be mandated to also probe other erring public officials, which is already under the PCGG’s mandate.
As of 2021, the PCGG said it has recovered a total of P265 billion, or P175 billion in cash and P90 billion in assets. About P125 billion in Marcos wealth remains under litigation, the PCGG told PCIJ.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his inaugural speech on Thursday, June 30, said food self-sufficiency will be a priority of his administration.
“The role of agriculture cries for attention… Food self-sufficiency has been the promise of every administration. None but one delivered,” Marcos said in his first speech as president.
He said there are "inherent defects" in the country's trade policies and spoke of the need for "radical changes" amid disruptions in worldwide food prices and supply due to the Ukraine crisis.
"There were inherent defects in the old ways and in recent ways, too. The trade policy of competitive advantage made the case that when it comes to food self-sufficiency, a country should not produce but import what other countries make more of and sell cheapest. Then came Ukraine," he said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscored food insecurity in many countries including the Philippines. Marcos will need to address rising food prices on top of the economic challenges.
Marcos announced last week that he was overseeing the Department of Agriculture (DA) himself as he expected a global food crisis to challenge the country. He said his two priorities include increasing the production of rice and “restructuring” the DA.
One of Marcos’ campaign promises was to lower the price of rice to P20 a kilogram. Stakeholders already said it will be difficult, if not impossible to achieve this objective, as the current farmgate price of palay (unhusked) rice is at about P19 per kilo already. For farmers to earn a profit, the retail price of rice is usually double this amount.
Outgoing agriculture officials said lowering the price of rice may mean providing more subsidies to farmers to help them fund their fertilizer needs this year. Globally, the price of fertilizers has increased by 30% since the start of 2022, according to the World Bank.
Incumbent Agrarian Reform Secretary Bernie Cruz also proposed the “Programang Benteng Bigas sa Mamamayan” (PBBM) early this June. The program aims to consolidate small farms into “mega-farms” for rice production. Marcos during his inauguration did not say whether he would take on the proposal.
On top of ensuring rice supply, the recovery of local pork production after the African swine fever outbreak decimated the industry in 2019 is also a concern. Outgoing Agriculture Secretary William Dar already said that more than 20 countries have made export restrictions on their food products as the raging Russian-Ukraine war continues. This has disrupted the entire global food supply chain further when it has not even fully recovered from Covid-19-induced challenges.
Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. was sworn in as the 17th president of the Philippines. The oath was administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo.