President Bongbong Marcos on Thursday said he would fix the government's "shortcomings" in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, assuring the public that there would be "no more secrets" in public health issues.
In his inaugural address, Marcos spoke of his battle with COVID, being among the first ones to contract the disease back in March 2020. He said getting sick "was not a walk in the park."
"There were shortcomings in the COVID response. We will fix them. Out in the open, no more secrets in public health," Marcos said.
Marcos will begin his term as president in the middle of the global health crisis which has slumped the economy and killed thousands of Filipinos around the country.
He put a spotlight on Filipino nurses who, despite their expertise in the field, choose to work abroad because they are underpaid in their own country.
"They are out there because we cannot pay them for the same risk and workload that we have back here," he said.
"There will be changes starting tomorrow. I am confident because I have an Ople in my cabinet," he added, referring to Susan Ople, whom he appointed as Secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers.
Marcos also said that the country "won’t be caught unprepared, underequipped, and understaffed to fight the next pandemic."
"To start with, we never got over the pandemic of poor, if any, free public health. The last major upgrade of a public health system exemplified by the resources poured into the Philippine General Hospital predates the current shambles by three generations," he added.
Following his inauguration, Marcos Jr. proceeded to Malacañang Palace, which also marked his family’s return to the country’s seat of power 36 years after they were forced into exile at the end of his father’s 21-year rule.