MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Rodrigo Duterte, a controversial town mayor dubbed “Dirty Harry” and “The Punisher” for his tough stance on crime, was sworn in as the 16th president of the Philippines June 30.
Duterte, who won by a landslide in the May elections with 16.6 million votes, promised to “listen to the murmurings of the people” as he vowed to relentlessly fight the “problems that bedevil our country,” reported ucanews.com.
“No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people,” Duterte said in his inaugural speech.
The new president said his administration would address corruption in government, criminality, proliferation of illegal drugs, and the breakdown of law and order.
“I see these ills as mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society,” said Duterte.
He said the real problem is the “erosion of faith and trust in government.”
The new president said he is aware that many do not approve of his methods in fighting crime, which have been described by critics as unorthodox and verging on the illegal.
Duterte, however, said he knows the limits of his power and authority and said his adherence to due process and the rule of law is “uncompromising.”
Ucanews.com reported that in a toast during Duterte’s inauguration, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, papal nuncio to the Philippines, reminded the new president that the “first word of a book is always the most important.”
“The initial page of the first chapter of this book, Mr. President, is dated June 30, 2016, and bears your name,” the archbishop said. “Starting today, all the women and men of this country are called to write on the blank pages of this book, engrave their aspirations and dreams, their convictions and ideas.”
In the central Philippine city of Tacloban, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, disaster victims were optimistic.
“He has this freshness and unorthodox leadership and way of dealing with people and his constituency,” said Dean Lacandazo, leader of a local activist group.
“I hope he will lead a pro-people rehabilitation and reconstruction project in Haiyan-stricken areas,” Lacandazo told ucanews.com.
“I am praying for his success. He has the passion to serve, he has a heart for the common people,” said Grace Villanueva, an education official in the province of Leyte.
On his first day in office, Duterte directed all government agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all government documents.
He also warned against the “changing and bending the rules” of government contracts and projects already approved and awaiting implementation.
“I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects and business transactions,” the new president said.
On the international front, Duterte vowed to honor treaties and international obligations.
Duterte is the country’s first president from the southern region of Mindanao.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103