Below are excerpts from inaugural addresses of some past Philippine presidents. Perhaps they can help incoming Pres. Noynoy Aquino, his advisers, and conscientious citizens in forging a consensus on the vision and policies our nation needs. The excerpts are taken from "...So Help Us God: The Presidents of the Philippines and Their Inaugural Addresses" by J. Eduardo Malaya and Jonathan Malaya (Manila: Anvil, 2004).
"Democracy becomes meaningless if it fails to satisfy the primary needs of the common man, if it cannot give him freedom from fear and freedom from want. His happiness and security are the only foundations on which a strong republic can be built. His happiness and security will be foremost among ths goals of my administration.
"We must develop the national economy so that it may better satisfy the material needs of our people. The benefits of any economic or industrial program shall be channeled first to our common people, so that their living standards shall be raised." (Ramon Magsaysay, 30 December 1953)
"The Government will continue its low-cost housing projects and its land redistribution and resettlement program. We shall exert greater effort so that more of our people will eventually acquire homes and lands that they can call their own. Home- and land-owning citizens possess not only a sense of stability and contentment but also the practical patriotism to live for, and if necessary, die for home and country. For upon the face of the patriot must have shone first the firelight of home." (Carlos P. Garcia, 30 December 1957)
"We assume leadership at a time when our nation is in the throes of a moral degeneration unprecedented in our national history. Never within the span of human memory has graft permeated every level of government. The solution of this problem shall call for the exercise of the tremendous persuasive power of the presidency. I shall consider it, therefore, my duty to set a personal example in honesty and uprightness. We must prove that ours is not a nation of hopeless grafters but a race of good and decent men and women." (Diosdado Macapagal, 30 December 1961)
"We must discard complacency without embracing panic; rely on our efforts alone without rejecting the support of others. Let not the future observe that being virile in body we multiplied in number, without increasing in spirit. I do not demand of you more than I shall demand of myself and of government. So seek not from government what you cannot find in yourself.
"In the solution of our problems, the government will lead. But the first duty that confronts us all is how to continue to grow in this nation now a new heart, a new spirit that springs out of the belief that while our dangers be many, and our resources few, there is no problem that cannot be surmounted given but the will and courage. Let every man be his own master, but let him first, and above all, be his own charge." (Ferdinand Marcos, 2nd inaugural, 30 December 1969)
"I would like to appeal to everyone to work for national reconciliation, which is what Ninoy came back home for. I would like to repeat that I am very magnanimous in victory. So I call on all those countrymen of ours who are not yet with us to join us at the earliest possible time so that together we can rebuild our beautiful country." (Corazon Aquino, 25 February 1986)
"Our people spoke of their faith that we Filipinos can be greater than the sum of all the problems that confront us; that we can climb higher than any summit we have already scaled.
"We cannot but interpret the vote as a summons for us to unite and face the future together. The people are not looking for scapegoats, but for the basic things to get done--and get done quickly." (Fidel V. Ramos, 30 June 1992)
"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." (Joseph Estrada, 30 June 1998)