The preparations for the inauguration of Rodrigo Duterte, the incoming 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines are underway. Updates were shared by incoming Presidential Communications Office Operations Secretary Martin Andanar and incoming Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. What the media know is that it will be a simple affair to be held at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the Malacañang Palace at 12 noon on June 30.
A week ago, the guest list for the simple inaugural event has ballooned to 657, but according to the latest news, the final guest list has been trimmed down to 150. This includes diplomats, Cabinet members and family, among others. The incoming President said that he does not want to cause traffic buildup during that day, which is a Thursday and still a work and school day. Duterte will take his oath before Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes of the Supreme Court.
Duterte’s inaugural speech, which he will deliver after taking his oath, is being written by two persons. It is expected to be in English, Filipino and Bisaya. In all probability, it would be projected on a teleprompter, but this is not yet final because Duterte might opt to memorize or read his entire speech. A teleprompter has been sent to Davao so that Duterte can practice using it.
In line with the president-elect’s wishes, the reception is said to be very simple as well. They will do away with the vin d’honneur, the formal reception after the inauguration where wine is served, as this would incur additional expense. It is said that maruya (fried bananas in batter) and buco juice will be part of the menu.
Previously, media coverage of the affair was banned. The latest word is that there will be nine national broadcasting companies that will cover the event, although the names of these broadcast companies are yet to be released. Andanar said it would be announced at a later date. Likewise, he added that the change in media protocol followed the adjustment of the guest list. He also assured the media during the press conference held in Davao City that the incoming president will not be late for his inauguration. It is widely known that Duterte was always late for events during the campaign period because he likes working late into the night. Andanar said that Duterte would be at Malacañang Palace at 10:30 in the morning to begin preparations for his inauguration. They have already met with Facebook Public Policy for Asia Pacific so that the inauguration can be streamed live to allow Filipinos around the world to watch it.
No joint inauguration
Incidentally, only the incoming president will be inaugurated at Malacañang Palace on June 30, as Duterte already told incoming Vice-President Leni Robredo that there would be no joint inauguration. This is the first time that this will happen.
On Robredo’s side, they said that they were preparing for the joint affair but since Duterte is not open to this, they will be preparing a simple inauguration ceremony on their own, although the Metro Manila venue has not yet been announced. Robredo plans to take her oath in front of Ronaldo Coner, the barangay chairman of Punta Tarawal in Calabanga, Camarines Sur. It is said to be the poorest, farthest and smallest village in the province.
This plan, according to a retired provincial prosecutor, Agapito Rosales will not have any force and effect, since a barangay official only has jurisdiction within the village where he was elected chairman. It will only be official if the oath-taking ceremony is held right there at Punta Tarawal.