“There was a call for unity and cooperation but this was followed by the promise that the government will deliver on its promises and will not ask the people to do more.”
Listening to Marcos Jr. delivering his inaugural address, one could not help but wonder how the latter would measure up to the oratorical prowess of his father, Marcos Sr.
For all his notoriety no one could question the older Marcos’ sharp intellect and oratorical skills.
His uncanny ability to deliver speeches extemporaneously was something to behold, a testament to his rapier sharp intellect and vaunted photographic memory.
In his booming baritone voice and flowery style characteristically his, Marcos Sr. in 1965 started off by laying down the sorry state of the economy, the inertia of the bureaucratic institutions and the threatening clime of the geopolitical landscape.
As his speech progressed, the elder Marcos slowly but surely called upon the people for collective action in order to overcome societal ills to culminate with the now oft repeated promise “This (country) will be great again!”
In contrast, Marcos Jr.’s delivery was more subdued, simpler and formal, no oratorical flair.
At the outset he made it clear that he is there not to talk about the past (possibly referring to the controversial and contentious past of his family history) but about the future.
A future of sufficiency, even plenty of readily available ways and means to get done what needs doing—the people and his administration.
Mentioning the pandemic which ravaged the entire world, and the gains lost and missed opportunities because of it, Marcos Jr. expresseed the need for radical steps to recover therefrom.
For the first time, a new President did not call for sacrifice from the people.
Sure, there was a call for unity and cooperation but this was followed by the promise that the government will deliver on its promises and will not ask the people to do more.
About the on-going conflict in Ukraine, he warns that while the tragedy of war and the spread of the virus are not of our own making, the ill effects will somehow visit our shores.
Thus, the need for a stronger resilience, quicker adaptability. They are our best prevention, they are our best protection, he adds.
He thanked the outgoing administration for the hard decision made but cautioned that there is a way to put more means and choices in your (people’s) hands, adding the government would not dictate but provide what is needed to get past a problem.
In a veiled tone, will the Marcos presidency take a different path from that taken by the Duterte admin, say on the war on drug, pandemic response or the propensity of the Duterte administration towards authoritarianism?
Certainly, this Marcos made a promise to make the country food secure (clearly rejecting a globalist view of the economy that makes us dependent on other countries), to fight for climate justice which I totally support, and for transparency in public health decisions.
Absent in the speech was any mention of human rights and corruption, which would have been awkward anyway given the family history
Marcos Jr. said that his administration is drawing up a comprehensive all-inclusive plan for economic transformation.
Special mention on the need for the need to focus on agriculture and achieving food self-sufficiency and in addition rued the deplorable state of the education system, which according to him needs to be refocused, including teaching materials which must be retaught.
At this point, he emphatically said he is talking, not about history but of the basics, sciences, sharpening theoretical aptitude, and imparting vocational skills such as in the German example.
I liked his emphasis on overseas Filipino workers and the priority his government will give to support them.
I wished he mentioned Mary Jane Veloso and commit to have her life saved.
Marcos Jr. harped on his unwillingness to take a confrontational approach which he demonstrated to his critics during the campaign.
He said that instead of confronting them, he listened and searched for better solutions, to seek, and not scorn dialogue.
This was the best part of the speech and to me made yesterday’s inaugural’s speech one of the best in recent years.
It was certainly better than the negative speeches of Erap in 1998 where he attacked the rich, Noynoy Aquino in 2010 when he ostracized in a selective way who be considered corrupt, and Duterte in 2016 who laid the groundwork for killing the poor on that first speech (including the one he delivered in Tondo in the evening of his inauguration).
Of course, it would be great if in the next few days the new President Marcos actually implemented a real policy of reconciliation by supporting the release of Senator Leila De Lima, reject redtagging decisively, resume peace negotiations with the communists, order the lifting of the suppression orders against Bulatlat, Pinoy Weekly, and other progressive organizations, and change the antagonistic approach of the Duterte government to media organizations like Rappler.
But then again as past experience would attest, the presidency, or any leadership position for that matter, is not all about making flowery speeches
It is more of the character of the person occupying the office, his integrity, sincerity, putting the heart in the right place and competence as a leader.
That we have to wait as the Marcos government begins its first 100 days.
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