Duterte to take historic oath as first Mindanaoan President

MANILA, Philippines – President-elect Rodrigo Roa Duterte will be sworn into office on Thursday in a historic feat as the country’s first president hailing from Mindanao.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes will administer the oath in English as the President’s children — Paolo, Sara and Sebastian — stand in witness.

His youngest daughter Veronica will hold the Bible to be used for the ceremony that will take place at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace at 12 noon today.

As the curtain of the hall opens, it will be followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of the Mabuhay March.

Known for his extemporaneous messages, the incoming President is expected to deliver a five-minute speech in a mix of English and Bisaya before a live crowd of more than 600 people, broadcasted via RTVM and live-streamed worldwide for the first time through social media giant Facebook.

After his inauguration, President Duterte will immediately start his duties by administering the oath of his Cabinet members. He will later meet them again at 2:20pm for their first meeting as anointed officials of the new administration.

Goodbyes and new beginnings

Before the inaugural rites, the new President will lead the customary send-off for outgoing President Benigno Aquino III.

“As part of tradition, President Duterte will take part in the Departure Honors for outgoing President Aquino. They will have a brief encounter at the President’s Hall,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar.

Duterte is scheduled to arrive in the Palace at 10:30am to be accompanied by his Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. They will be met at the President’s Hall by the outgoing Chief Executive and his Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.

“In a symbolic gesture of a peaceful turnover, President-elect Duterte and Executive Secretary Medialdea will usher outgoing President Aquino and Secretary Ochoa to the Palace’s main staircase toward the grounds, where their vehicles await them,” Andanar said, relating the details of the day’s activities.

The President will also meet with the members of the Diplomatic Corps to be led by new Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay at a reception that will take place at the President’s Hall. At the reception, the President will offer a toast to which the Papal Nuncio will deliver a response.

The day will be concluded with a tour of the Presidential Museum and Library with approximately 300 visitors joining the activity.