Inaugural Address

The primary function of the President is not to dispense favors but to dispense justice. The presidential oath of office contains the special pledge to "do justice to every man." These shall not remain empty words, for with God's help, I shall do justice to every citizen, no matter how exalted or how humble may be his station in life.

As we open a new era in the life of our Nation, let us measure the tasks before us and set forth our goals. Our aims are twofold: first, to solve the immediate problems of the present and ; second, to build materially and spiritually for the future. Our first mission is the solution of the problem of corruption. 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. Our second mission is to attain self-sufficiency in the staple food of our people, namely, rice and corn. The elemental needs of every people are food, clothing, and shelter. The basic national problem is the poverty of the masses. Our third mission, therefore, is the creation of conditions that will provide more income for our people. The permanent solution to this problem is the rapid and sound utilization of our vast and rich natural resources in order to create opportunities for employment. Our fourth mission is to launch a bold but well-formulated socio-econimic program that shall place the country on the road to prosperity for all our people. I believe in private enterprise because I have faith in the Filipino. We must help bridge the wide gap between the poor man and the man of wealth, not by pulling down the rich to his level as communism desires, but by raising the poor towards the more abundant life. This is democracy's supreme endeavor. I shall therefore from this day onward vigorously exert all efforts to increase the productivity of the farmer and the laborer, to teach the common man scientific methods to lighten his burdens, to give land to the landless, and in time to place within his means the essential commodities for a decent living. The structure of this Republic must be built not only upon material but more so upon spiritual foundations. Our fifth mission, therefore, is to establish the practices and the example that will strengthen the moral fiber of our Nation and reintroduce those values that would invigorate our democracy. It is incorrect to say that we are out to solve all the problems of the Nation. No President can do that. Nation-building is an exacting and endless endeavor. No President can build the whole edifice of a Nation. All that he is called upon to do is to add a fine stone to that edifice, so that those who shall come after him may add other fine stones that will go for a strong and enduring structure. No program can succeed without popular sustenance. We shall need that faith and that support demonstrated by our people in our election against appalling odds. In the past electoral combat, our people showed the strength of our democracy in this part of the world by bringing about a peaceful change of Administration through the ballot and not through the bullet.

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