President Rodrigo Duterte’s inauguration speech: change has already started!


Noon, the 30th of June, 2016: the term of the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines officially starts. According to the program, the newly-inaugurated president would give a speech, a few choice remarks.

Before we get to the speech itself, let’s mention one standout thing observers noted in a photograph of President Duterte and outgoing president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III together:

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President Duterte was wearing a pin of the flag of the Republic of the Philippines. BS Aquino was still wearing a Yellow ribbon.


BS Aquino’s use of the color yellow is partisan, a symbolism, critics point out, of putting the color of his clan and his party, the Liberal Party, above all else, including the nation. It was aggravated by the “with us or against us” mentality espoused by Aquino and his followers in his actions and speeches: if you didn’t support the Aquino government 100%, if you criticized him even for just a bit, you belong to that group called “everybody else” whom Aquino and company tried their best to ignore.

As small a change as it may seem, the use of the flag pin by Duterte is not only refreshing, as some observed, it is one that is more significant than BS Aquino’s “no wangwang” policy from when his own term was starting.

As for the speech itself, it was fifteen minutes long (just the right length), and the content sustained interest without devolving into self-aggrandizing, self-congratulatory rambling. Reaction to it on social media has been positive for the most part; some netizens called the speech “inspiring”.

You can find the transcript of the speech here or watch the video below.

Observers also pointed out other “refreshing” contrasts to speeches done during BS Aquino’s time:

The speech was (mostly) in English. The other “national language”, Filipino, contrary to popular belief, is not a dominant language in the Philippine archipelago; it is merely one among hundreds of languages spoken by the many ethnic groups here. As a “national language” it is rather useless because it favors one ethno-linguistic group above the others. It is divisive.

BS Aquino’s insistent use of Tagalog was there to make him look “maka-masa” (one of the masses), but the forced tone (hindi natural ang dating), together with his exclusive and condescending attitude and behavior, served only to alienate others, and to sow further division among Filipinos.

English, on the other hand, is a neutral language that does not favor any ethno-linguistic group in the Philippines; all of them struggle to learn it equally. It is also the global lingua franca, and the international language of commerce and knowledge.

From my personal and professional experience, Bisaya speakers (like Duterte) are really good at speaking English. Comparatively speaking, they generally speak it better than our northern countrymen. Duterte’s command of it during the speech didn’t disappoint. There is no putdown here; it is my personal observation. It is not hard for me to admit this despite my own roots being from the northern Philippines.

There was something I bet Duterte’s critics expected to hear in the speech but was missing. The speech contained no cussing and no invective. During the presidential campaign, the electorate had heard a lot of swear words and strong words, like “putang-ina” (son of a whore), or “papatayin kita” (I’ll kill you) thrown around liberally by Duterte as part of his tough guy and “one of the masses” image. Deeper observers had seen through the act, however, and had been rather surprised that Duterte can be civil and restrained in his speech as needed. This inaugural speech was merely one of those times of restraint. Very presidential indeed, a good way to start.

Those who had dismissed Duterte as a mere vulgar, uncultured, buffoonish hooligan should probably be eating crow by now.

From the start, BS Aquino became predictable, because his speeches would more often than not contain mentions of his predecessors. He was too quick to blame them for the problems he faced, and keep mentioning and blaming them to the very end, it seems. Duterte’s own contained none of these. Again, observers note, it was refreshing to hear no blame game, and instead, a focus on the future and what lies ahead coming from the President.

What else was missing? The speech contained no pandering phrases like, “kayo ang boss ko” or “eh di wow”. The former was a pandering statement, unbelievable from the start, which indicated that BS Aquino had no leadership bone in his body. Eventually, it turned out to be false. The second phrase is one which has no equivalent in English but is an exclamation of anti-intellectualism, prevalent in this corner of the world.

For lack of a better word, President Duterte started on the right foot with his speech, with an address dignified and becoming of a proper leader. The Philippines has been starving for one for six years.

President Duterte highlighted a few things: first, change is required from all of us, everybody from the highest government official to all the citizens on the streets of towns and provinces everywhere in the Philippines. Second, he emphasizes that his government is going to be for the poor, and aimed at making lives better for Filipinos. And third, he and government serve everyone and not any one class of interests in the Philippines.

Tinud-anay nga kabag-uhan. Mao kana ang tumong sa atong pang-gobyerno.” (Real change. This is the direction of our government).

We will hold you to that, Mr. President.

Of course, we shouldn’t be carried away by his pronouncements just yet. It is one thing to start on the right foot. It is yet another to be able to stay on the proper course as time goes by. And it is yet one more thing to be able to recognize when mistakes have been made and to correct them.

It is our job as citizens to hold him accountable to his campaign promises and to make sure he performs to our benefit. But if we are to help him by criticizing him, we must do so without being obstructionist, stubborn, and downright plain destructive to the cause of making the Philippines a better place.

And with that, let the term of the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines commence! May the odds ever be in our favor.

50 Replies to “President Rodrigo Duterte’s inauguration speech: change has already started!”

  1. I cant believe I’ll say this, but I’m going to miss Pnoy. He was so easy to criticize for his incompetence, hypocrisy and blatant corruption. With the current president, we’ll literally be forced to intellectualize our criticism. Life will be hard.

    1. That’s fine with me. Now it’s time for all Fliptards to start using their intellect to save the country from their own arrogance and selfishness.

    2. Hahaha. You have the yellows (leloy apologists, err, defenders). Their continuous asks for peer reviewed references.

  2. 10:40 “I order all Department Secretaries and Heads of Agencies, to refrain form changing and bending the rules of Government contracts, transactions and projects already approve and awaiting implementation. Changing the rules when the game is ongoing is wrong. I abhor secrecy and instead advocates transparency, in all government contracts, projects and business transactions, from submission of proposals, to negotiations to perfections and finally to consummation. Do them, and we will work together, do not do them, we will part sooner than later. ”

    Looking forward for President Duterte’s strong statement for a change in the Government.

  3. That was a good speech.

    Let’s hope he means it, and let’s hope the crooks don’t grind him down. Did you notice the slime in the front row of the audience? It’s like looking at mugshots of Philippines’ Most Wanted Dead or Alive.

  4. We all want change in our country, and in our lives.

    We wait and see, if Pres. Duterte could deliver. If, his bite, is greater than his bark.

    I would like him to enforce the law, to the fullest extent. Investigate, all who had done corrupt things; scams, like the Lag lag bala extortion scam; shabu businesses; in the previous administration.

    We would like for him to investigate the Electoral Fraud; committed: by Aquino; Mar Roxas; Leni Robredo;the libersl Party; SMARTMATIC,Bautista and the COMELEC. Bring back the trust of the people in our electoral system ! It is now damaged messed up by the Aquino administration !

    We wish Pres. Duterte, well in his programs !

    1. Daming mong Satsat siguro BongBong ano?, i kaso nyo yan, daming reklamo wala naman ebidensya, di takot sa inyo ang SMARTMATICS, dahil may mga supporting documents sila na pede, ihampas sa mga mukha ninyo. I am still 100% trusts SMARTMATICS, sila lang ang nagpalinis ng Election natin. panahon pa yan ng mga Marcos nako 100% vice pres na si Bong2x ahahaha

      1. Meron na ngan ebidensya e. Pero what do you expect about who is the sitting Comelec chairman.

        Honestly, son, hinampas mo na ang sarili mong mukha because you’re too gullible to realize that you always rely on your anti-Marcos bias and EMOTIONS rather than critical thinking.

        Please set your priorities for once.

        1. Election fraud was claimed to be committed…it is not a case whether Bong Bong Marcos Jr. won or not. It is a case that an electoral fraud was committed by the outgoing Aquino administration.

          It is a case of bringing back the trust of the Filipino people to our electoral system. The electoral system must be unblemished. The Law must be enforced !

      2. “I am still 100% trusts SMARTMATICS, sila lang ang nagpalinis ng Election natin.”.. Serioso ka?? Ang daming mga ebidensya na nagpapatunay na may nangyaring dayaan and still in denial kayo.. May “Move on” pa kayong nalalaman eh pag Marcos/ Martial Law paguusapan, d kyo mkpg-on.. Ironic..

        1. I am not sure Drilon win w/o leaving his home
          during election campaign same as Sotto, recto ang other well known corrupt in LP….
          If this happened during DU30,you might change your mind

  5. Pres. DU30’s term has now officially started. this is going to be 6 years or 2,190 days to be exact. Godspeed sir. let the change begin.

  6. I can’t help but laugh at the disgruntled looks from many of the Yellow Party guests while President Duterte made his speech. The shakedown has officially begun and it’s time to clean house.

  7. an idiotic article and even more idiotic to think anyone is ‘eating crow’ because the guy failed to curse, ONCE.To say the filippines has ‘been starving’ for a leader for ‘six years’ is to act as if the Failippines had a leader in GMA, who was just a thief and stole everything that was not nailed down from the moment she took office to the very last second she left office. NO, I’d say the country has needed a leader for about 50 years…and to undo the damage that has been done during that 50 years, in a mere 6 years? LOL !!! GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.this guy is a small town Mayor who, if he tries to imprison all those that are deserving of imprisonment shall not live very long. Rodrigo Duterete will see he must dance with the wolves or be thrown to them as dinner.
    The people must decide that they want to be rid of the thieving politicians and have the guillotine get busy, or they will once again realize that one Man, no matter how determined, will fall short of what the people expect of him(and that is truly unfair anyway)and the usual sour taste of disappointment shall once again permeate the breath of the Filipino, too bad. Fooling themselves seems to be what Filipino’s do best.

    1. From your tone and mode of logic, you’re the epitome of failure that you ramble about in every comment you make. The Duterte admin has just started. Bring your pessimism elsewhere.

      1. His tone is pointing out the realistic nature of the current problems.
        You guys put all your hopes on ONE man to change your country yet its the culture and attitude that needs to change.
        He is absolutely correct in what he says.
        Stop being butt hurt and realize its not an attack on you.
        But an apt assessment of the current situation.

        1. While it really is unrealistic for people to put all hopes on one person and hope for the best (as was done with every president ever, only to be left disappointed in the end), it still safe to say that Duterte is a step in the right direction. Apparently, none of his predecessors have made this much impact even before he officially assumes office. Curfews are implemented, allegedly there are no more late night drunkards and karaoke, we see a surge of drug busts, and even the ASG gave a hostage off as a token of “good will” (well I find this a bit silly, since they only released their least profitable hostage, but 1 life saved is still a life saved)

        2. That’s exactly what I have been saying all along. All Filipinos have to effect the change if they want a real change. One man can’t do it alone. It’s the entire Philippine culture that is corrupt and not just some people. As long as we keep silent and lay the responsibility on someone else’s shoulder to fix our country, we’ve done nothing but contribute to that corruption and we end up eating the “shits” of our own creation.

        3. We are hopeful but we’re not relying on one man for change to happen, contrary to your sweeping statement. That’s absurd. It’s just refreshing to see someone in power willing to commit himself and willing to discuss and act on real issues often ignored and set aside by previous leaders. Issues that should’ve been dealt with from common sense. It’s a shot at finally having somebody who will represent the ordinary people’s will.

    2. “dance with the wolves or be thrown to them for dinner”?! Wow!you ate already expecting Duterte to become like Pnoy. And you just excused why all the past presidents failed to live up to their promises. Have you not got ine optimistic bone in your body? lol You mentioned the wolves, but you forgot the another animal that’s plaguing our country. The CRABS. The one who can’t help but pull down his fellows lest they get out of the bucket. And these animals are really why we can’t succeed as a nation.

      1. Ino Mangaday,

        No, I don’t have any optimistic bone in my body, especially when it comes to the reality of life in the Philippines and the arrogant and selfish nature of our people. We are a product of a corrupt culture; therefore we are corrupt and we will breed corruption. For you to deny our corrupt nature and being optimistic about how thing can change because of one man is nothing more than a delusion on your part. It takes a whole nation to build a nation, and it takes just as much to destroy it.


      2. You miss the point completely….and I am not surprised. The ‘DANCE’ is what will bring about the change….if the guy just goes and starts arresting people, influential, rich and connected people he will be shot eventually by one of them. To court the corrupt and try to make them see the errorrs of theirs ways(and yes,throw the rotten ones in prison) and somehow make them see that the improvement of the country through the uplifting off all of its societal members, rich and poor alike, is what needs to happen for the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
        This is a huge undertaking, one of which might not even be this Man’s goals but they need to be.In any case, time shall tell what the story-line shall be.I will say that shooting drug dealers dead in the streets with no ‘due process’ is the act of a potential ‘DICTATE’ and a move that should have everyone alarmed.As far as ‘CURFEWS’ are concerned, that is what happens during Martial Law in every country that has ever experienced it and is very concerning from a civil rights POv if ,in fact, it is happening.I still say that this guy,Duterte, is the wrong guy for the job.A Neaderthalic thug that is out of his league in terms of intellgence, couth, and grace and just about every other measure that can be applied to a ‘Head-of-State’ and it will be really telling of how and where the country is going to end up with this guy at the helm when he starts to interact with foreign leaders.Something he has zero experience with.Like it or not, this is the bed Filipino’s have made for themselves and they will surely sleep in it… also may just be that this guy was the best alternative to the rest of the lying thieving scumbags running for the job, and that is a reflection of the society as a whole.

        I did not forget about CRABS, just because I do not mention them.As it happens they are not as big a problem as you may seem to think.The outright looting of the treasury and malfeasance of the public purse is much more of a problem because it denies the public from much needed improvements in every area from infrastructure to quality of life in every single area.Just think of all the money that has been stolen by politicians in the last 55 years and how much better off the country would be if even half of it had been spent on a public spending project.

      3. …and I did not ‘EXCUSE’ anyone, now that I look at this statement of yours again, you really are just an emotional little person, aren’t you ?

  8. The Aquinos’ legacy is an inversion of what they claimed to stand for. Parading the yellow color every chance they get is actually part of programming the mass- similar to repeating an idea or a lie until people accept it unquestioningly

    1. klara,

      Exactly! Especially the brain-washing propaganda of “Proud to be a Filipino,” which is nothing more than a “feel-good” campaign to encourage the Filipino people to leave the country as OFWs, while the Yellow Party of politicians and businesses build big shopping malls, condominiums, and brand name automobiles, so they’ll will have something to spend their remittance money on when they come back.


  9. Now I saw the true Hon. Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, delivering a very inspiring speech worthy of being Honorable. This is what He said Methamorphosis. His speech is full of substance to bring true Changes in our government. I hope and pray that He will deliver; and I know and I believe HE CAN.
    As what He said, Real Change starts from within Us, our own self first. Let’s give President Duterte our support and prayers. Give him a break…and our country will be great again . God bless our Country… God bless us.

  10. The pins Digong and Abnoy wore on their chests are a metaphor of whom these gentlemen truly serve. P.Digong served the country while The Bald One promotes the interests of the oligarchs in order for the status quo to remain in perpetuity. Now that Pres. Digong is now at the helm of Philippine politics, we expect change. But we still should remain vigilant for their dog, Leni “Robber” redo will champion the yellows who wanted to the new Malacanang tenant ousted. God Forbid!

  11. @ Fallen Angel

    Generalisierung hat immer die Gefahr des Seins näher zu einem Fehler oder Fehler.

    What you have written is pretty nice and substantial. However, I take exception to your statement that the Tagalog based Filipino is divisive.

    Have you watched any Korean telenovela dubbed in Tagalog based Filipino, our Constitutionally mandated (1987 Cory Constitution) national or official language aside from English ?

    If you have not watch one, try and see why Korean telenovelas are popular from Aparri to Jolo.

    Maybe you enjoy a debate whether or not Tagalog based Filipino is divisive or not. 🙂

    1. Hate to break it to you chum but not all Filipinos outside imperial manila can speak Tagalog. They prefer to speak English instead.

      1. They prefer to speak English instead to other Filipinos because they prefer speaking with their own dialect.

  12. For the last six year’s words belong to last six year’s language. (BS Aquino)

    And the next six year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.

    “Real change. This is the direction of our government.”
    – President Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte – Republic of the Philippines


  13. Lets see how this Administration fare against P-noy, he can do better that P-noy then good for the Filipino People, otherwise if he fails then, feel sorry for us, anyway life must go on, God Bless the Filipino People.

    1. ‘Major World Power’ ? that is truly a ridiculous statement, the country is a corrupt as shit,3rd world banana republic and you think it could be a ‘WORLD POWER’ ? Please,… would be a miracle if the country could become a thriving economy that is inclusive of all.I’d say that would be a more accurate assessment of what MAYBE could be the most that could possibly be hoped for. Good Gad Mon, drunk on hope you seem.

        1. now you think he is discrediting something that was not even mentioned!
          You really are hallucinating, take some valium…it will bring you down quickly.

        2. @TroLOL:

          Nah, PESSIMISTIC TROLLING FAGGOTS like yourself should take some valium. He’s not discrediting something. He’s TROLLING, just like you did.

          Please take your FAGGOTRY to somewhere else. It will fully realize how much of an Aquino apologist you are.

        3. @TROLLol:

          If there is someone who should take valium, it’s TROLLS like yourself:

          Apparently trolling behavior are caused by sadism, anti-social behavior, immense insecurity, and psychotic tendencies

          It’s time to learn your place, son.

        4. @Yashiki yamagama, I’d gladly teach you a lesson you’d never forget, but we shall never meet. You inadequate psycho-analysis is pathetic as it is incorrect,talk to the hand ass-wipe.

    2. It can. Pres RRD is a start. He’s up against big opponents not just in the country. How does he and the country fight global oligarchy/corporatocracy? And what if in his fight he gets overthrown (or eliminated) by the help of US?

      1. SDKs
        China is only few blocks away from us.China is looking for a trusted neighbors. China and US are now economic at war

  14. I like this article, full of substance and intellectually suggestive. Fair and square. Let’s give Duterte a chance to start his mandate and make Filipinos a disciplined citizens. Inclusive growth must be attained.

  15. Yes, inspiring speech. Medyo may problema lang sya sa “catapulted” which he pronounced as “catapulated”.

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