Rodrigo Duterte sworn-in as new Philippine President

Manila, June 30 (IANS) Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday was sworn in as the 16th president of the Philippines, after a landslide election victory in May.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes administered Duterte’s oath of office at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacanang, the presidential palace.

Duterte’s children, namely Paolo, Sara, Sebastian and Veronica stood witness. He signed his oath of office afterwards, Xinhua news agency reported.

The former 71-year-old Davao city Mayor won the Philippine presidential election held on May 9 with 16,601,997 votes, a lead of almost 7 million over second-in-place Manuel Roxas.

In his inaugural speech, Duterte promised the Filipinos that his administration will make a change to the country, a message he has been sending out since he started presidential campaign.

“Change must start with us and in us… We have become our own worst enemies, and we must have the courage and the will to change ourselves,” he said.

To make a difference, Duterte vowed to fight criminality, the sale of illegal drugs, and corruption.

“I have seen how corruption bled government of funds. I have seen how illegal drugs destroy individuals and ruin families’ relationships…Look at these from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong,” said Duterte, addressing the public concern that his methods of fighting criminality unorthodox.

He assured the Filipinos that he will adhere to due process and the rule of law.

“I know the limits of the power and authority of the president. I know what is legal and what is not,” he said.

Duterte has been carrying out his anti-crime program which includes plans to reintroduce the death penalty, issuing shoot-to-kill orders to the security services and offering them bounties for the bodies of drug dealers.

Maria Leonor Robredo was sworn in as Vice President earlier on Thursday in Quezon city.

In her inaugural speech, the 52-year-old politician called for unity and promised to bring prosperity to the Filipinos, especially the poor.

Under the constitution, Duterte and Robredo will serve a single six-year term.

–IANS

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