Marcos’ Inaugural Speech (1969)
Second Inaugural Address
by Ferdinand Marcos
10th President of the Philippines
Delivered on December 30, 1969 at at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila
“To Transform the Nation — Transform Ourselves”
Four years have passed since I took my first oath of office as President of the Republic of the Philippines. We have traveled far since then. On that year and hour when I first assumed the presidency, we found a government at the brink of disaster and collapse, a government that prompted fear before it inspired hope; plagued by indecision, scorned by self-doubt, its economy despoiled, its treasury plundered, its last remaining gleam shone to light the way of panic. But panic, we did not. Rather against the usual raucous cries of the cynics we kept faith, and in that faith persevered, until the passing of that terrible cloud.
We survived the agony, we passed the test.
The results of those endeavors are landmarks upon our nation now. We have conquered the first obstacles first.
But our task is not done. For the task of nation-building never ends. We must forge on.
You have given me the task of leadership by an overwhelming and unprecedented mandate. I thank you for your trust.
I lead this nation into a new decade, the decade of the seventies– a decade that is one of the most crucial in our history as well as in the history of Asia and of the world.
The world seeks to know whether man is indeed impelled by some strange instinct to self-destruction or whether its sciences on the relationships of men can catch up or overreach its natural sciences.
In Asia we must now forge a constructive unity and co-exist in purposeful peace, not on terms that must yet be drawn by a conquering ideology, but on bonds that now exist. For in the years of this difficult decade, Asia must decide whether in this vast region of one of the greatest of the world’s peoples, it will build a sanctuary, or set up a continental prison.
Decision cannot much longer be delayed.
In our own land, we have just begun building a nation. We have had to telescope in four years what other nations achieved in decades.
There is a mortgage of dedication, of discipline, of self-abnegating leadership in the billowing fields of green sprung from miracle rice; on every road or bridge; on every school or hospital; on every community project we have built.
For discipline is the other face of achievement.
But I hear the strident cries of protest against self-discipline from the gilded throats of the privileged and the cynically articulate– they who have yet to encounter the implacable face of poverty. I hear the well-meaning cries of the uninformed and the naive. To them I address this plea. Let them share the burden with the grace and courage of the poor. Let them find common cause with the people. Too long have we blamed on one another the ills of this nation. Too long have we wasted our opportunities by finding fault with each other, as if this would cure our ills and rectify our errors. Let us now banish recrimination.
There are too many of us who see things as they are and complain. let us rather see things as they should be and inspire. Let us dream the vision of what could be and not what might have been,
There are many things we do not want about our world. Let us not just mourn them. Let us change them.
The time is now. In government I pledge the severest leadership in integrity as well as discipline. Public officials shall set the vision for simplicity within the bounds of civility. I ask in turn a response from the privileged. Let us be true to ourselves as the people of a poor nation struggling to be prosperous; whatever our personal circumstances, rich or poor, we are all citizens in poverty.
Today with us, self-reliance is no longer an option; it is our fate.
The next few years will lay the basis for a reformation– a revolutionary reformation of our international and domestic policies– of our political, social, legal and economic systems.
Truly them the decade of the seventies cannot be for the faint of heart and men of little faith. It is not for the whiners nor for the timid. It demands men and women of purpose and dedication. It will require new national habits, nothing less than a new social and official morality. Our society must chastise the profligate rich who waste the nation’s substance– including its foreign exchange reserves on personal comforts and luxuries.
The nation’s capacity for growth is limited by its foreign exchange earnings. Every dollar spent on self-indulgence is a dollar taken away from employment, from welfare, from education– from the nations social and economic well-being.
The presidency will set the example of this official morality and oblige others to follow. Any act of extravagance in government will be considered not only an offense to good morals but also an act punishable with dismissal from office.
With such a new ethic, we will surmount the problems we are confronting now.
We must discard complacency 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, this 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.
It is our destiny to transform this nation; we begin by transforming ourselves first. In this formidable task, no Filipino, no one in the land will be exempt whatever his station in life.
Neither wealth nor power will purchase privilege; wealth and power shall not outrage the conscience of our people.
Trusting in God and in ourselves, we must now pledge, my countrymen, that in homage to the vision of a race, there shall be in this spot of the universe, a people strong and free, tracing their ancestral roots to Asia, proud of their oriental heritage as well as western culture, secure in their achievements, a people daring to match the iron of the world without losing their essential humanity, eradicating social iniquity without encouraging anarchy, practicing self-discipline and self-reliance without ostentation, attaining dignity without losing friends, seeking true independence without provoking war, embracing freedom even in deprivation.
Thus, we prove to our posterity that our dream was true that even in this land of impoverished legacy, the wave of the future is not totalitarianism but democracy.