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Frugality Favored, Solidarity Questioned

Julliene Salboro | Shine Sigerson

The June 30 Inauguration of the President and Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines abolished tradition and opted to create a first in Philippine history, a separate inauguration ceremonies. Rodrigo Duterte wanted to commence his presidency in a less paraded ceremony. However, his choice prompted Leni Robredo to forego on the joint inauguration. Duterte’s frugality can be applauded, but can this trump the call for unity between the President and Vice-president?

Throughout the election period, both parties have been regarded as one with the ordinary people. When both the elected president and vicepresident have similar stands, it gives the people hope that the interest won’t be localized on effecting change that only appears on paper and is not felt by common Filipinos. To the public, the separate inaugurations seemed to create tension between Duterte and
Robredo, and thus it sparks question on whether they could actually work together.

If Duterte capitalized on frugality to start-off his presidency, why then did he and Robredo not agree to have a joint inauguration? A joint one could have meant less spending. If the issue was on the number of invited guests, couldn’t they reach a compromise? Understandably, the inauguration ceremony is a congratulatory event for the supporters. However, shouldn’t the inauguration ceremonies make way for the newly elected to depart from the constraints of representing opposing parties and instead come to an agreement to lift up the banner of a single, unified administration?

Even if the separate inaugurations were branded on simplicity—a united front for both parties—which can house the underlying message on their distaste for government
officials’ extravagant spending, I see this first in history as an effective, but
inefficient propaganda. They made it appear that they want less costs, but this was trumped when separate inaugurations were done. It raises the question on whether Duterte and Robredo could actually defend and promote their similar stands together
when they started off differently. Frugality is a redeeming quality of a government official, but unity among top executive positions gives the Filipinos the anticipation to see what two powerful individuals with similar views can achieve.

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