Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, 64, who won the election last month by a landslide, succeeds Rodrigo Duterte, internationally famous for his bloody war on drugs.

He was sworn in in a public ceremony at the National Museum in Manila, in front of hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries, including Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

– “No excuses” –

Under the eyes of his mother Imelda, 92, seated a few meters away, Marcos Jr praised the reign of his father, the ex-dictator who reigned for almost three decades over the archipelago.

“I once knew a man who saw the little that had been achieved since independence. He achieved it,” said Marcos Jr, saying his father built more roads and produced more rice than all his predecessors together.

“It will be the same for his son. I will not find excuses”, he assured.

The latest attempts to disqualify Marcos Jr from the election and prevent him from taking office were rejected by the Supreme Court a few days ago.

As rising prices compress an economy already ravaged by Covid-19, Marcos Jr has made fighting inflation, reviving growth and increasing food production his priorities.

He took the initiative to take over the Agriculture portfolio to carry out the reform of this sector, which is plagued by many problems.

“We will go very far under my leadership,” he promised on Thursday, though giving few details on how he plans to achieve his goals and few clues about his style of governance, after largely avoiding interviews with the media.

– “Friend of all, enemy of no one” –

Marcos Jr has also pledged to defend the rights of the Philippines to the South China Sea which Beijing claims almost entirely.

Unlike his predecessor who moved away from the United States towards China, Marcos Jr has indicated that he will pursue a more balanced relationship with the two superpowers.

He said last month that he would adopt a foreign policy of “friend to all, foe to no one”, but insisted he would enforce an international decision against Beijing over the rich South China Sea. in resources.

Marcos Jr was brought to power through a massive disinformation campaign on social media, portraying the family in a favorable light and ignoring the corruption and human rights abuses committed during his father’s 20-year rule.

Many expect Marcos Jr to be less violent and more predictable than Mr Duterte, but activists and clergy fear he will use his victory to install himself in power.

The alliance with Mr. Duterte’s daughter, Sara, who obtained the post of vice-president, was essential to the success of Marcos Jr, as well as his wife Louise.

Marcos Jr’s refusal to acknowledge his family’s abuses, praising the dictatorship as ‘golden years’, raises fears ‘he will continue his dark legacy while in office’, the alliance has warned. left Bayan.

Although he supported Duterte’s war on drugs, which claimed thousands of lives mostly among the poor, he is unlikely to implement it so aggressively.

“I think the Filipino political elite is ready to abandon the violence-driven war on drugs,” said Greg Wyatt, director of business intelligence at PSA Philippines Consultancy, adding that the war has “gotten enough attention negative”.