[ Delivered at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila on December 30, 1965 ]
Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, My Countrymen:
Sa bisa ng inyong makapangyarihang hatol at sa pamamagitan ng mabiyayang tangkilik ng Dakilang Maykapal , narito ako ngayon sa inyong harap sa pinagkaugalian nang ritwal sa pagtatalaga at pagsumpa sa tungkulin ng isang bagong halal na Pangulo .
Sa kapasiyahan ninyong ito ay muli pa ninyong pinatunayan na matatag at matibay ang pagkakatanim ng mga ugat ng demokrasya sa sinapupunan ng bansang ito . At sa bisa ng kapangyarihang ipinagkaloob sa inyo ng mga batas ay naisasagawa nang mapayapa at maayos ang pagsasalin ng kapangyarihang pampamahalaan .
By your mandate, through the grace of the Almighty, I stand here today in the traditional ritual of the assumption of the Presidency.
By your mandate, once again you have demonstrated the vitality of our democracy by the peaceful transference of governmental authority.
It is but fitting and proper that this traditional ritual be undertaken on this sacred ground. For sixty nine year ago today, a young patriot and prophet of our race fell upon this beloved soil. He fell from a tyrant's bullet and out of the martyr's blood that flowed copiously there sprung a new nation.
That nation became the first modern republic in Asia and Africa. It is our nation. We are proud to point to our country as one stable in an area of instability; where ballots, not bullets, decide the fate of leaders and parties.
Thus Kawit and Malolos are celebrated in our history as acts of national greatness. Why national greatness? Because, armed with nothing but raw courage and passionate intelligence and patriotism, our predecessors built the noble edifice of the first Asian Republic.
With the same reverence do we consider Bataan, Corregidor and the Philippine resistance movement.
Today the challenge is less dramatic but no less urgent. We must repeat the feat of our forebears in a more commonplace sphere, away from the bloody turmoil of heroic adventure - by hastening our social and economic transformation. For today, the Filipino, it seems, has lost his soul, his dignity and his courage.
We have come upon a phase of our history when ideas are only a veneer for greed and power in public and private affairs, when devotion to duty and dedication to a public trust are to be weighed at all times against private advantages and personal gain, and when loyalties can be traded in the open market.
Our people have come to a point of despair. I know this for I have personally met many of you. I have heard the cries of thousands and clasped hands in brotherhood with millions of you. I know the face of despair and I know the face of hunger because I have seen it in our barrios, huts and hovels all over our land.
We have ceased to value order as a social virtue. Law, we have learned successfully to flaunt. We have become past masters at devising slogans for the sake of recorders of his history but not for those who would live by them in terms of honor and dignity.
Peace in our time, we declare. But we can not guarantee life and limb in our growing cities. Prosperity for all, we promise. But only a privileged few achieve it, and, to make the pain obvious, parade their comforts and advantages before the eyes of an impoverished many. Justice and security are as myths rendered into elaborate fictions to dramatize our so called well being and our happy march to progress.
But you have rejected all these through a new mandate of leadership. It is a mandate that imposes a change of leadership in this country, and to me, as your President, this mandate is clear - it is a mandate not merely for change. It is a mandate for greatness.
For indeed we must rise from the depths of ignominy and failure. Our government is gripped in the iron hand of venality, its treasury is barren, its resources are wasted, its civil service is slothful and indifferent, its armed forces demoralized and its councils sterile.