Aquino, 15th President, vows better life for Filipinos and to curb corruption, excesses
Benigno “P-noy” Aquino III took his oath today as the country’s 15th President, vowing to guide the nation to the right path, lift Filipinos from poverty, give them the benefits and services they deserve, and curb corruption and other forms of excesses of power and authority.
The 50-year-old Aquino, the first bachelor ever to head the nation, said he will lead by example, with the ideals starting from him, as he promised to live up to the legacies of her parents, the assassinated former Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr., and the late Corazon C. Aquino, the country’s 11th president and widely regarded as icon of Philippine democracy.
“Ang unang hakbang ay ang pagkakaroon ng tuwid at tapat na hanay ng mga pinuno. Magsisimula ito sa akin. Sisikapin kong maging isang mabuting ehemplo. Hinding hindi ko sasayangin ang tiwalang ipinagkaloob ninyo sa akin. Sisiguraduhin ko na ganito rin ang adhikain ng aking Gabinete at ng mga magiging kasama sa ating pamahalaan (The first step is to have leaders who are ethical, honest, and true public servants. I will set the example. I will strive to be a good model. I will not break the trust you have placed in me. I will ensure that this, too, will be the advocacy of my Cabinet and those who will join our government),”said Aquino in his 22-minute inaugural address delivered largely in Pilipino and applauded more than 20 times by more than a half million who trooped to the country’s Rizal Park.
Aquino, an economics graduate honed in Congress politics in his 15 years as congressman and senator, delivered a straightforward speech to the delight of the attentive crowd majority of whom were adorned with everything yellow.
The color is associated with the pro-democracy movement in the 80’s spawned by the murder of his father in August 1983 up to that fateful February 1986 revolution that ended years of Marcos dictatorship and catapulted the widow Corazon Aquino into power. Yellow has since then been the identifying color of Aquino family supporters and followers.
“Nilabanan ng aking ama ang diktadurya at ibinuwis niya ang kanyang buhay para tubusin ang ating demokrasya. Inalay ng aking ina ang kanyang buhay upang pangalagaan ang demokrasyang ito. Ilalaan ko ang aking buhay para siguraduhin na ang ating demokrasya ay kapaki-pakinabang sa bawa’t isa. Namuhunan na po kami ng dugo at handang gawin itong muli kung kakailanganin (My father offered his life so our democracy could live. My mother devoted her life to nurturing that democracy. I will dedicate my life to making our democracy reach its fullest potential: that of ensuring equality for all. My family has sacrificed much and I am willing to do this again if necessary),” he said.
He said his mission in simple: to be true to ideals of his parents and the Filipino people, be a dutiful son, a good brother and good citizen.
“My parents sought nothing less and died for nothing less than democracy, peace and prosperity. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward,” he said.
Aquino succeeds Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, daughter of another Philippine president. Arroyo is now congresswoman, after nine years in Malacanang. She won the congressional seat for the second district in her home
Aquino took his oath of office at the famed Luneta Grandstand before Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales exactly at 12 noon as mandated in the Constitution.
He went to Luneta in the same car with Arroyo, as required by tradition. The outgoing President however did not wait for her successor’s inaugural speech and left
Vice President Jejomar Binay was also sworn in by Morales. The new President followed and read his oath, his left hand on top of the Bible, his four sisters behind him including a barangay captain who furnished the holy book.
But before the two leaders were sworn in, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile read the joint Congress resolution proclaiming them winners in the May 10 elections, a historic political exercise in the country being the first-ever automated national election.
Aquino said that on Day One of his administration, he wanted an end what he said is the insensitivity by leaders to the plight of the Filipino people, although he said, it will also be the start of his own sacrifice and calvary.
“Ngayon,sa araw na ito – dito magwawakas ang pamumunong manhid sa mga daing ng taumbayan. Hindi si Noynoy ang gumawa ng paraan, kayo ang dahilan kung bakit ngayon, magtatapos na ang pagtitiis ng sambayanan. Ito naman po ang umpisa ng kalbaryo ko, nguni’t kung marami tayong magpapasan ng krus ay kakayanin natin ito, gaano man kabigat (Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people. It is not Noynoy who found a way. You are the reason why the silent suffering of the nation is about to end. This is the beginning of my burden, but if many of us will bear the cross we will lift it, no matter how heavy it is),” he said.
Aquino said he will straighten the bureaucracy and weed out the corrupt therein.
He promised to give attention to the education system, public infrastructure projects, employment opportunities, revenue collection, public health and housing.
He said specific instructions have been issued to his incoming cabinet to look at the agriculture sector, specially the setting up of trading centers where farmers can directly trade without being hounded by middle men and even corrupt lawmen.
For the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), he said he has given instructions to the foreign office, labor and welfare agencies to strengthen their welfare and assistance programs for them.
Among the most applauded portions of his inaugural speech were his clear messages pledging to apply justice to all and make accountable those who have been engaged in corrupt activities.
In forthright terms, he said he will not condone even petty abuse of authority.
“Walang lamangan, walang padrino, at walang pagnanakaw. Walang wang-wang, walang counter-flow, walang tong. Panahon na upang tayo ay muling magkawanggawa (No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more),” he said.
As to his campaign pledge to look into the allegations of corruption against the previous administration, Aquino said he was glad that former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. has accepted his offer to head a truth commission to look into the numerous unexplained issues of corruption in the past.
On the issue of reconciliation and unity, he said: “To those who are talking about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: There can be no reconciliation without justice. Sa paglimot ng pagkakasala, sinisigurado mong mauulit muli ang mga pagkakasalang ito. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all.”
On the problems in Mindanao, he said: “My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of
On the international front, he said: “To our friends and neighbors around the world, we are ready to take our place as a reliable member of the community of nations, a nation serious about its commitments and which harmonizes its national interests with its international responsibilities.”
He closed his inaugural message, thus: “Layunin ko na sa pagbaba ko sa katungkulan, masasabi ng lahat na malayo na ang narating natin sa pagtahak ng tuwid na landas at mas maganda na ang kinabukasang ipapamana natin sa susunod na henerasyon. Samahan ninyo ako sa pagtatapos ng laban na ito. Tayo na sa tuwid na landas (My hope is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and that we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation. Join me in continuing this fight for change).”
International community welcomes new RP President Aquino
Representatives and guests from 81 foreign nations provided international prestige today to the inaugural event in
The Malacanang Protocol Office, said representatives of some 81 countries and international institutions and organizations attended the inauguration of Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Most prominent among the foreign guests were Timor–Leste President Jose Ramos Horta and 21 states have sent high-level and ministerial-level delegates, who started arriving in
The United States was represented by Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and The Holy See by the Apostolic Nuncio to Korea The Most Reverend Osvaldo Padilla.
Also in attendance were China’s National People's Congress Vice Chairperson Madame Yan Junqi, Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Osamu Fujimura and Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, Spain’s Defensor del Pueblo Enrique Mugica, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yong-Boon Yeo, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Minister of State of the Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar bin Abaid Madani;
Brunei Darussalam Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma, Cambodian Minister of Information Khieuk Kanharith,
Korea's Chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection Kim Hwang-Sik, Laos' Chief of Cabinet to the President Souban Srithirath, Malaysia's Minister for Women, Family and Community Development Senator Dato' Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Thailand's Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Ongart Klampaiboon, and Vietnam's Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
Other foreign dignitaries who were witness to the historic event included Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Assistant Secretary-General Samir Diab,
Representatives of international organizations included the United Nations' Resident Coordinator Jacqueline Babcock, Food and Agricultural Organization's Kazuyuki Tsurumi, International Committee of the Red Cross' Jean-Daniel Tauxe, International Labor Organization’s Linda Wirth, and International Monetary Fund's Dennis Bothman.
Other representatives of international organizations included: International Organization for Migration's Duc Tran, United Nations Children's Fund Vanessa Tobin (represented by Colin Davis), UN Development Programme Renaud Mayer, UN High Commission for Refugees Rico Salcedo, UN World Food Programme Stephen Anderson, World Banks' Bert Hoffman, and World Health Organization's Dr. Linda Milan.
The foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the vin d'honneur reception at 6 p.m. in Malacañang.
Most Reverend Padilla expressed hope that President Aquino will exercise outstanding leadership and achieve great success in overcoming difficult challenges.
“I want to wish him, sincerely, great success in his work as the new President,” Horta briefly said.
Binay shares oath ceremony with P-Noy
Vice President Jejomar Binay took his oath of office today also before Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales minutes before President Benigno “P-noy” C. Aquino III was sworn in by the lady magistrate at 12 noon at the Quirino Grandstand,
Binay placed his hand on top of the Holy Bible held by his spouse, former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay, as he recited his constitutional pledge after Justice Morales.
After the simple oath taking ceremony, Binay was congratulated by President Aquino, family members and other officials including former President Joseph Estrada.
Prior to their high-noon oath taking, Binay first heard mass at the Manila Cathedral early in the morning. From the cathedral, Binay proceeded to the Manila Hotel until he was given a go-signal to proceed to the Quirino Grandstand.
When then President-elect Aquino and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo left Malacanang for inaugural rite, Binay rode on board a Makati-made electric jeepney in going to the Luneta Grandstand.
Binay succeeded former Vice President Noli de Castro after winning in the first automated elections last May.
Among Binay’s supporters seen at the inaugural rites were
Sea of yellow back in P-Noy inaugural
The sea of yellow that gave birth to the first people power in the country more than two decades ago came roaring back as the nation witnessed the inauguration of Benigno Simeon Aquino III as the 15th President of the republic.
The son of martyred Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino was sworn in at exactly 12 noon today amidst an adoring throng of supporters, volunteers and ordinary folks who have seen him as a symbol of change and hope for a better
Estimates put the crowd at the gaily bedecked
The day was declared a non-working day by outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to give Filipinos a chance to witness the inaugural of the country’s first president elected under the automated polls.
The outgoing Chief Executive had earlier been fetched by Aquino in Malacanang. Together, they rode the presidential limousine to the Quirino Grandstand for the traditional ceremonial ride.
Garbed mostly in yellow, people composed of students, employees from the private and government sector, as well as the who’s who in high society circles filled the grandstand, some of them waving yellow banners, wearing yellow sunglasses and fanning themselves with so-called Noynoy fans.
An air of optimism pervaded the atmosphere as can be seen from the wide smiles and cheerful attitude of the crowd who braved the mid-day sun and the discomfort of having to stand for an extended period of time to see history in the making.
Jennifer Santos, a 46-year old housewife and mother of two was one of the hundreds of thousands of Aquino supporters who went to the inaugural venue to witness Aquino’s oath taking.
She joined the more than 15-million voters who backed Aquino on the basis of his “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” campaign slogan.
In his inaugural speech which lasted 22 minutes and applauded some 30 times, Aquino vowed to push for governance that is pro-people, anchored on democracy and free from corruption.
Not one but four handshakes for PGMA, P-Noy
No less than four handshakes marked the formal meeting of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and President-elect Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang today prior to their traditional ceremonial ride to the Quirino Grandstand at the
Clad in off-white long-sleeved barong Tagalog, Aquino, waited anxiously at the flower-bedecked ground floor lobby of the Palace as President Arroyo descended the stairs for the historic event.
The outgoing Chief Executive smiled as he approached the President-elect and extended her hand to the man who would replace her at the helm of the republic. Together they posed and repeated the handshake three more times for photographers and cameramen who had positioned themselves earlier.
The outgoing President then joined President-elect Aquino to the presidential limousine.
They were accompanied in the convoy to the Quirino Grandstand by Vice President Noli de Castro, Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, former Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, Justice Secretary Alberto Agra, Public Works Secretary Victor Domingo, Finance Secretary Gary Teves and Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr. Also at the Palace was former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera.
Except for Vice President de Castro, the Cabinet members joined the outgoing President in her lunch at her home in Lubao, Pampanga where she proceeded after the ceremonial military honors.
Just the night before, the same cabinet members hosted a farewell party for President Arroyo at the Bahay Pangarap in Malacanang following their last cabinet meeting.
Outgoing Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza said they thanked President Arroyo for giving them the opportunity to serve under her.
“She thanked all of us and we thanked her also for giving us the opportunity to serve under her. Then we sang songs and she sang with us her favorite tune from the Carpenters, “I have you,” recalled
“We also sang a Cabinet piece composed by the Department of Social Services which narrates the accomplishments of the Arroyo administration in Tagalog to the tune of “Ang Sabi Nila,” he added.
The President, according to
P-Noy swears in new Cabinet officials
President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III inducted today his Cabinet officials in simple ceremonies at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang.
Sworn in this afternoon were Executive Secretary Atty. Paquito Ochoa Jr.; Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Edwin Lacierda; Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alberto Romulo; Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima; Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad; Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman; Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro;
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin; Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona; Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz; Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory Domingo; Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo; Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jose Rene Almendras;
Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Jose de Jesus; Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje; Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Albert Lim; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson; Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala; Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes;
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles; Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Patricia Licuanan; National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Cayetano Paderanga; Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa; and Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Director-General Julia Abad.
The President also administered the mass oath taking of newly elected district representatives, governors, vice governors, board members, city mayors, vice mayors and councilors most of whom belong to the administration’s Liberal Party.
Aquino Cabinet holds maiden meet, gives 1 month reprieve to contractual gov’t workers
President Benigno “P-noy” C. Aquino III and his Cabinet held their first official meeting minutes after he inducted the cabinet officials en masse at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room in Malacanang.
The Cabinet members who attended were Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Education Secretary Armin Luistro (who the President tasked to deliver the opening prayer;
Economic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala (of Quezon), Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, Transportation and Communication Secretary Jose de Jesus, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim;
Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Science and Technology Secretary Dr. Mario Montejo, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Peace Adviser Ging Deles, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Abad, Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
The President had planned a short session, but the meeting lasted for an hour tackling among others, issues like the fate of contractual government employees and non-Career Executive appointees whose terms were deemed to have expired today.
Also taken up were the budgetary proposals that must include the priority programs which the new Chief Executive will spell out in his first state of the nation address on July 26, and the formation of the Truth Commission, with former Chief Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations Hilario Davide.
At a press briefing after the Cabinet, Spokesperson Lacierda briefed the media along with Justice Secretary de Lima and Finance Secretary Purisima.
Lacierda said the President made it clear that his administration will not attempt at moves toward a balanced budget but will be keen on proposals to improve tax and customs collections and broadening the tax base to support his social programs.
Lacierda read out to media Executive Order No. 1 issued by Executive Secretary Ochoa, which extended the terms of contractual employees for one month or until July 31, 2010, subject to review by their superiors as to their performance. But the positions of non-career presidential appointees, whose terms ended with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were deemed vacant. Lacierda said that an inventory submitted to Secretary Ochoa by Arroyo officials showed about around 4,000 positions in the non-career category.
“The EO does not cover midnight appointments,” Lacierda said.