'Kayo ang boss ko,' 'Walang kamag-anak' and other memorable quotes from the inaugural speeches of Philippine presidents
Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr. officially assumed office as the 17th President of the Philippines on June 30, 2022, at noon.
In his inaugural speech, Marcos Jr., who won by a landslide 31 million votes during the May elections, said Filipinos rejected the politics of division in electing him as president. He reiterated how he offended "none" of his rivals during the campaign period, as he stressed on his message of unity.
"When my call for unity started to resonate with you, it did so because it echoed your yearnings, mirrored your sentiments, and expressed your hopes for family, for the country, for a better future," he said.
As the country enters into a new administration, PhilSTAR L!fe takes a look back at the inaugural addresses of the country’s recent presidents.
Here are the most memorable quotes from the speeches of previous Philippine presidents Rodrigo Duterte, Noynoy Aquino, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Ejercito and Cory Aquino.
Rodrigo Roa Duterte (2016 - 2022)
The country’s 16th President and the first from Mindanao held his inaugural speech at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall, Malacañang Palace on June 30, 2016.
The long-time mayor of Davao reiterated his campaign for change in his address, borrowing the Filipino writer F. Sionil Jose’s words, “We have become our own worst enemies. And we must have the courage and the will to change ourselves.”
“Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished – these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines. The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest,” he added.
Duterte also told the Filipinos that they “draw strength from democratic governments” and his administration is “no exception.”
I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality… In response, let me say this: I have seen how corruption bled the 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.
“That is why we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us, whom they elected to public office,” Duterte said.
Duterte's inaugural speech was the rare instance when he stuck largely to the script, as his preferred style of public speaking usually entailed veering off-script with his extemporaneous remarks.
“I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality… In response, let me say this: I have seen how corruption bled the 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,” he said.
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (2010 - 2016)
A year after his mother and former president Corazon Aquino’s death, the inaugural speech of Benigno S. Aquino III happened at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on June 30, 2010. Prior to his presidency, Noynoy also used the catchphrase “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” for his anti-corruption campaign slogan.
“Nilabanan ng aking ama ang diktaturya 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 bawat isa. Namuhunan na kami ng dugo at handang gawin itong muli kung kinakailangan,” he said, paying homage to his parents, former president Corazon Aquino and former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., who fought for the country’s democracy.
Nandito tayo ngayon dahil sama-sama tayong nanindigan at nagtiwala na may pag-asa. Kayo ang boss ko, kaya’t hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mga utos ninyo.
“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,” he said.
“Kayo ang boss ko, kaya’t hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mga utos ninyo,” was the famous line during his inaugural address which remained a mainstay during his entire presidency.
Aquino, the 15th president of the Philippines, passed away on June 24, 2021 at the age of 61.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001 - 2010)
After the ouster of Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo held her first inaugural speech on January 20, 2001, at the Our Lady of EDSA Shrine in Mandaluyong City.
“As we break from the past in our quest for a new Philippines, the unity, the Filipino’s sense of history, and his unshakeable faith in the Almighty that prevailed in EDSA ’86 and EDSA 2001 will continue to guide and inspire us,” Arroyo said.
Her first inauguration focused on her desire to eradicate poverty and improve economically as the country moves forward with the pursuit of having a better Philippines.
She motivated Filipinos to believe in the nation’s potential while assuring them that she will be working hard on bringing out this aspiration.
“We have long accepted the need to level the playing field in business and economics. Now, we must accept the need to level the playing field in politics as well. We have long aspired to be a world class economy. Now, we must also aspire to develop a world class political system, one in tune with the 21st Century,” the former President stated.
“The world of the 21st Century that our youth will inherit is truly a new economy, where relentless forces such as capital market flows and advances in information and communications technology create both peril and opportunity. To tap the opportunities, we need an economic philosophy of transparency and private enterprise, for these are the catalysts that nurture the entrepreneurial spirit to be globally competitive,” she added.
As we break from the past in our quest for a new Philippines, the unity, the Filipino’s sense of history, and his unshakeable faith in the Almighty that prevailed in EDSA ’86 and EDSA 2001 will continue to guide and inspire us.
As for the commencement of her second term, Arroyo’s second inaugural speech happened on June 30, 2004 at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, Cebu.
“We must end with justice the conflict brought about by EDSA 1, 2 and 3. There are more things that bind rather than tear us apart as a nation. We are a vibrant country with a lively democracy and fervor burning in our hearts. Industry, patience, fear of God and love for family are common values we hold dear,” she said.
She ended her speech with a message highlighting how she intends to serve the public once again with her leadership.
“Everyday, I shall get up and work for you. 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 everyday 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!”
Joseph Ejercito Estrada (1998 - 2001)
Joseph Ejercito Estrada, an actor prior to entering politics, ran under the campaign slogan “Erap para sa mahirap,” in keeping with his image of championing the causes of the poor. He was proclaimed as the 13th president of the Philippines in 1998. He held his inauguration at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on June 30, 1998.
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.
“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,” he said following his statement of abolishing graft and corruption in the government,” Estrada said with the purpose of establishing justice in institutions.
However, Estrada was overthrown after the EDSA II Revolution following a series of protests and key Cabinet defections on January 16 to 20, 2001. The political crisis was triggered by his trial on plunder charges. Later on, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pardoned him.
Fidel V. Ramos (1992 - 1998)
Fidel V. Ramos delivered his inaugural speech at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. Under his presidency, he aimed for unity between all Filipinos, as was heard in his speech on June 30, 1992.
“Some of us think that empowerment means solely the access of every citizen to rights and opportunities. I believe there is more to this democratic idea. Our ideology of Christian democracy, no less than its Muslim counterpart, tells us that power must flow to our neighborhoods, our communities, our groups, our sectors and our institutions–for it is by collective action that we will realize the highest of our hopes and dreams,” Ramos stated. With this unity, he envisioned a better country, not only with peace agreements but also renewed the faith of investors for the nation’s economy.
“We cannot dream of development while our homes and factories are in darkness. Nor can we exhort enterprise to effort as long as Government stands as a brake–and not as a spur–to progress.”
He also mentioned Jose Rizal several times in his speech. Ramos highlighted that Filipinos should be able to follow the national hero’s dreams for the country.
We cannot dream of development while our homes and factories are in darkness. Nor can we exhort enterprise to effort as long as Government stands as a brake–and not as a spur–to progress.
“Tulad ng natanaw ni Rizal, ngayon na ang panahon upang sabihin sa ating sarili–na kung nais nating makaahon, kung nais nating umunlad, dapat tayo’y kumilos sa ating sariling pagsisikap. Sa pagkilos na ito, sabi ni Rizal, “dapat nating ibuhos ang buong liwanag ng ating mga kaisipan at lahat ng tibukin ng ating puso,” he said.
Cory Aquino (1986 - 1992)
Former president Cory Aquino held her inaugural address on February 25, 1986—the notable day in Philippine history when two candidates— Cory Aquino and Ferdinand Marcos Sr. —claimed the presidency and delivered their speeches with the former at Club Filipino, San Juan and the latter at Malacañang Palace.
“Ninoy believed that only the united strength of the Filipino people would suffice to overturn a tyranny so evil and so well-organized. The brutal murder of Ninoy created that unity in strength that has come to be known as “Lakas ng Bayan”–people power.”
Former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" S. Aquino Jr. was assassinated on August 21, 1983. Ninoy’s assassination eventually started a chain of events that would eventually lead to the People Power Revolution of 1986.
“People power shattered the dictatorship, protected those in the military that chose freedom, and today, has established a government dedicated to this protection and meaningful fulfillment of our rights and liberties.”
The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, in which millions of Filipinos took part in, ended the dictatorship of then president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
People power shattered the dictatorship. Now, by God’s grace and the power of the people, we are free again
“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,” she said.
Research compiled by Ada Pelonia, Raychele Mendoza, and Sofia Valderama