Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr (center) is proclaimed by Senate President Vicente Sotto (left) and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco as duly-elected president at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, suburban Manila on May 25, 2022.
(TED ALJIBE / AFP)
MANILA – The Philippine Congress on Wednesday proclaimed Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos winner of the presidential election, succeeding Rodrigo Duterte, who steps down in June after six years in office.
READ MORE: Marcos Jr triumphs in Philippine presidential election
Marcos, son of former president Ferdinand Marcos and popularly known as Bongbong, received over 31 million votes, or more than 58 percent of the votes cast, defeating incumbent Vice-President Maria Leonor Robredo, who earned over 15 million votes.
I am humbled … I promise you that we may not be perfect but we will always strive to perfection.
Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Philippine president-elect
The joint session of the Congress also proclaimed Sara Duterte-Carpio, the 43-year-old daughter of Duterte and Marcos' running mate, as the winner of the vice-presidential race.
Marcos, who is to become the 17th president of the republic, thanked everyone and urged the entire citizenry to help him in ushering a new era of progress for the country.
"I am humbled … I promise you that we may not be perfect but we will always strive to perfection," Marcos said minutes after the Senate president Vicente Sotto and the House speaker Allan Velasco raised their hands.
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr celebrates with supporters as he arrives at the campaign headquarters in Manila on May 11, 2022.
(TED ALJIBE / AFP)
"I want to do well because when the president does well, the country does well. And I want to do well for this country," the 64-year-old former senator said.
Marcos' 92-year-old mother, Imelda, attended the proclamation, along with his wife, sons and siblings. Marcos, who campaigned on a pledge to unite this Southeast Asian country of 110 million people, will be inaugurated on June 30.
The Marcos administration needs to address a slew of problems besetting the Philippines, such as unemployment, inflation, high debt-service ratio to the gross domestic product, as well as rocketing gas and oil prices
More than unity, Marcos assumes the presidency amid the economic and health challenges due to the pandemic.
The Marcos administration needs to address a slew of problems besetting the Philippines, such as unemployment, inflation, high debt-service ratio to the gross domestic product, as well as rocketing gas and oil prices.
The unemployment rate peaked at 17.6 percent in April 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has fallen to 5.8 percent in March this year, the lowest since the outbreak in January 2020 but still above the pre-pandemic level of 5.1 percent in 2019.
ALSO READ: Filipinos pin hope on Marcos' victory to promote economy
Government data showed that 23.7 percent of the country's nearly 110 million population lives in poverty.
The new administration will also inherit over $240 billion in accumulated debt as of the end of March, mainly due to the COVID-19 expenses. Bureau of Treasury data showed that the country's debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 63.5 percent as of end-March, well over the internationally recommended threshold of 60 percent.
Managing inflation is also on the top of Marcos' to-do list.
The Philippine economy grew by 8.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022. The government is optimistic that the solid first-quarter 2022 GDP growth will help the country attain its target of 7 to 8 percent growth this year.