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Marcos Jr. is sworn in as Philippine President

#Marcos #sworn #Philippine #President

The son of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be sworn in as president on Thursday, ending a decade-long effort to restore the clan to the country’s highest office.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., 64, won last month’s general election in a landslide victory, securing the biggest win since his father was overthrown by a popular uprising in 1986.

He succeeds the hugely popular Rodrigo Duterte, who gained international notoriety for his deadly drug war and threatened to kill suspected dealers after he left office.

Marcos Jr. will take the oath in front of hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries and journalists at noon (0400 GMT) in a public ceremony at the National Museum in Manila.

More than 15,000 police officers, soldiers and coastguards were deployed across the capital for the inauguration.

It comes days after the Supreme Court dismissed recent attempts to bar Marcos Jr. from running for office.

As rising prices squeeze an economy already devastated by Covid-19, Marcos Jr. has made fighting inflation, boosting growth and boosting food production his priorities.

He has taken the rare step of appointing himself agriculture minister to lead the recovery of the troubled sector.

Marcos Jr. has also pledged to defend the Philippines’ rights to the disputed South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost all of it.

But he has given little detail on how he will achieve his goals or offered few hints about his leadership style, having largely avoided media interviews.

Pro-Duterte commentator Rigoberto Tiglao recently wrote that he was “optimistic” about an “economic recovery” under Marcos Jr.

Tiglao cited the “seasoned academics” on Marcos Jr.’s business team and the support of “powerful tycoons” who could give him advice.

– ‘Friends for all, enemies for none’ –

Marcos Jr., who seems more polite and matter-of-fact than Duterte, was swept to power with the help of a massive misinformation campaign on social media.

Pro-Marcos groups bombarded Filipinos with fake or misleading posts that portrayed the family in a positive light while ignoring the corruption and abuses of the patriarch’s 20-year rule.

Key to Marcos Jr.’s success was an alliance with Duterte’s daughter Sara, who secured the vice presidential post with more votes than he did, and the support of rival dynasties.

Many expect Marcos Jr. to be less violent and more predictable than the elder Duterte, but activists and religious leaders fear he could use his victory to entrench himself in power.

“Marcos Jr.’s refusal to acknowledge past abuses and wrongdoings and actually hailing the dictatorship as ‘golden years’ makes it very likely that he will continue its dark legacy during his tenure,” the left-wing alliance Bayan warned.

Marcos Jr., who has distanced himself from his father’s rule but has not criticized it, vowed last month to “always strive for perfection.”

He has filled most cabinet posts. But the most influential adviser during his six-year tenure is likely to be his wife Louise, who claims she has no interest in joining his government but is widely believed to have led his campaign.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines, said the country under Marcos Jr.

“We’re very optimistic about the quality of leadership that we have now,” Ortiz-Luis told AFP.

Unlike Duterte, who turned to China from the United States, Marcos Jr. has indicated he will seek a more balanced relationship with the two superpowers.

Marcos Jr. said last month he would pursue a “friends for all, enemies for none” foreign policy.

But unlike Duterte, he insisted he would uphold an international ruling against Beijing over the resource-rich South China Sea.

Although he has backed Duterte’s drug war that has killed thousands of mostly poor men, he is unlikely to be as aggressive in enforcing it.

“I think the Philippine political elite is ready to move on from a violent drug war,” said Greg Wyatt, director of business intelligence at PSA Philippines Consultancy.

“The drug war has attracted enough negative attention.”

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#Marcos #sworn #Philippine #President

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