Quotable quotes from inaugural speeches of PH presidents
MANILA, Philippines – In the Philippines, the oath taken by the President has remained unchanged for over a century. What changed were the promises made during the inaugural addresses of the country's 15 presidents.
From Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the republic, all the way to Benigno Aquino III, the country's 15th president, inaugural speeches sought to inspire the nation and paint a vision for the future.
Rappler recounts some memorable quotes from the inauguration addresses of the country's presidents.
"We are no longer insurgents; we are no longer revolutionists; that is to say, armed men desirous of destroying and annihilating the enemy. We are from now on Republicans; that is to say, men of law, able to fraternize with all other nations, with mutual respect and affection. There is nothing lacking, therefore, in order for us to be recognized and admitted as a free and independent nation."
– Aguinaldo, in his inaugural speech at Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan, January 23, 1899
Manuel L. Quezon
"We shall build a government that will be just, honest, efficient, and strong so that the foundations of the coming Republic may be firm and enduring – a government, indeed, that must satisfy not only the passing needs of the hour but also the exacting demands of the future."
– Quezon, in his inaugural speech at the Legislative Building, Manila, November 15, 1935
Jose P. Laurel
"There shall be no tarrying on the way, no desertion from the ranks, no stragglers left behind. Together we shall work, work hard, work still harder, work with all our might, and work as we have never worked before."
– Laurel, in his inaugural speech at the Legislative Building, Manila, October 14, 1943
"We shall, as a free and self-respecting nation, fulfill our duties not only to ourselves but also to the entire freedom-loving world by participating in the establishment and preservation of a just peace for the benefit of mankind."
– Osmeña at Washington D.C., August 10, 1944, in his inaugural address, following the death of President Quezon
Osmeña's inaugural speech was the 2nd and last one delivered on foreign soil. His address took place at the Office of the Resident Commissioner in Washington DC.
Manuel A. Roxas
"Charity and understanding must replace bitterness and anger. We cannot afford to cherish old feuds or old divisions. For the many tasks of national reconstruction, we need the thousand talents of all our people – men and women alike."
– Roxas, in his inaugural speech at the Legislative Building, Manila, May 28, 1946
"We cannot leave this job alone to the President and the administration. We cannot leave this job to a few individuals, to special interests and privileged classes. Least of all can we leave this to God alone. We must, one and all, as individuals and as groups, take it upon ourselves to do our part."
– Quirino, in his second inaugural speech at the Independence Grandstand, December 30, 1949
Quirino's first inaugural speech took place in April 1948, when the then-vice president assumed office after the death of then president Manuel Roxas.
His second inaugural address in 1949 was held at the Independence Grandstand in Manila. Now named after him, the Quirino Grandstand played host to a total of 11 inaugural speeches.
"We have a glorious past. Now we must build a future worthy of that past."
– Magsaysay, in his inaugural speech at the Independence Grandstand, December 30, 1953
Carlos P. Garcia
"Together we will meet our common problems and difficulties. With the singleness of purpose together we will overcome them."
– Garcia, in his second inaugural speech at the Independence Grandstand, December 30, 1957
Garcia also had two inaugural addresses: when he assumed office in the wake of President Magsaysay's death in a plane crash in March 1957, and his election to the presidency in December 1957.
"We must help bridge the wide gap between the poor man and the man of wealth, not by pulling down the rich to his level as communism desires, but by raising the poor up towards the more abundant life. This is democracy’s supreme endeavor."
– Macapagal, in his inaugural speech at the Independence Grandstand, December 30, 1961
"This nation can be great again. This I have said over and over. It is my article of faith, and Divine Providence has willed that you and I can now translate this faith into deeds.
I have repeatedly told you: each generation writes its own history. Our forbears have written theirs. With fortitude and excellence we must write ours."
– Marcos, in his inaugural speech at the Independence Grandstand, December 30, 1965
"We became exiles, we Filipinos who are at home only in freedom, when Marcos destroyed the Republic fourteen years ago. Now, by God’s grace and the power of the people, we are free again."
– Aquino, in her inaugural speech at Club Filipino, San Juan, February 25, 1986
February 25, 1986, is the only day in Philippine history with two presidential inaugurations. Both Marcos and Corazon Aquino laid claim to the presidency following that year's snap polls. Aquino's speech was delivered in Club Filipino in San Juan, while Marcos' address was at Malacañang Palace.
Fidel V. Ramos
"I have asked Mang Pandoy and his family to be my guests in this inaugural ceremony as proof of my resolve to obtain for families like theirs all over the country the humanities of life. Poverty we must learn to regard as another form of tyranny, and we must wage against it the moral equivalent of war."
– Ramos, in his inaugural speech at Quirino Grandstand, Manila, June 30, 1992
Felipe Natanio or Mang Pandoy was a street vendor who became the "face of the poor" during the Ramos administration. Unable to rise out of poverty, he passed away in 2008 due to tuberculosis.
Meanwhile, Ramos mentioned Jose Rizal a total of 7 times in his inaugural address. A total of 9 presidents mentioned the national hero's name in their speeches.
"Ngayon pa lamang, ang mga kamag-anak ko ay nilalapitan na ng kung sinu-sino. Kung anu-anong deal at kickback ang ipinapangako.
Binabalaan ko sila. Walang kaibigan, walang kumpare, walang kamag-anak o anak na maaaring magsamantala sa ngayon. At ngayon pa lamang sinasabi ko sa inyo, nag-aaksaya lamang kayo ng panahon. Huwag ninyo akong subukan."
(This early, members of my family are approached by all sorts of people, promising all kinds of deals and kickbacks.
I am warning them. There will be no friend, no compadre, no relative or offspring who can take advantage right now. This early, I'm telling you: you are just wasting your time. Don't you dare test me.)
– Estrada, in his inaugural speech at Quirino Grandstand, Manila, June 30, 1998
"I shall make good and I shall do good for the good of all and not just for the cameras. The canvassing for public attention is over. I expect you to get up every day to hold me accountable, in the full glare of transparent leadership. I shall wield the power of the Presidency to uphold truth and justice.
I devote my life and treasure to serving your mandate. Do your responsibility and I shall do mine. United, how can we lose? Together, we will prevail!"
– Arroyo, in her second inaugural address at Quirino Grandstand, Manila, June 30, 2004
Arroyo's first inaugural speech took place on January 20, 2001, at the Our Lady of EDSA Shrine in Mandaluyong City, shortly after the ouster of President Estrada through another revolution dubbed EDSA 2.
Her second inauguration happened after securing a 6-year mandate in the 2004 polls.
Benigno Aquino III
"Walang lamangan, walang padrino, at walang pagnanakaw. Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow, walang tong. Panahon na upang tayo ay muling magkawang-gawa. Nandito tayo ngayon dahil sama-sama tayong nanindigan at nagtiwala na may pag-asa."
(No more taking advantage, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No sirens, no counterflow, no bribes. It is time for us to do charity again. We are here today because together we took a stand and trusted there is hope.)
– Aquino, in his inaugural speech at Quirino Grandstand, Manila, June 30, 2010
The shortest inaugural address ever given was by Elpidio Quirino. With only 47 words, his remarks were delivered two days after the unforeseen death of then president Manuel A. Roxas in April 1948.
Ranking second was the speech given by former president Corazon Aquino, with 210 words, delivered at the conclusion of the People Power Revolution in 1986.
On the other hand, with 4,385 words, the longest inauguration speech was delivered by Roxas in 1946. A close second is Jose P. Laurel’s 1943 address, given during the Japanese occupation. His inaugural speech was 4,104 words long. – with research by Jodesz Gavilan and Michael Bueza/Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong is a Rappler intern.