Malacañang appealed to the public to stand behind Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio who are set to lead the Philippines still grappling with widespread poverty and billions-worth of debts aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.,The Palace issued the call Wednesday evening, shortly after the two were proclaimed the next Philippine president and vice president, respectively.,“As both leaders are about to embark on the responsibilities and challenges of their respective offices, we reiterate our call for our people to stand behind our newly elected leaders,” acting presidential spokesperson Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.,The official canvass of votes by the joint congressional canvassing committee showed that Marcos won the presidential election with over 31 million votes, double the number of votes cast for second placer Vice President Leni Robredo.,It was a remarkable reversal of fortunes for the Marcos family that 36 years ago was booted out from the Palace by the “People Power” revolution.,Duterte-Carpio, the eldest daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, dominated the vice presidential race after getting over 32 million votes, nearly four times the number of votes earned by her closest rival, Senator Kiko Pangilinan.,It was the first time in recent Philippine history that Filipinos elected a majority president and vice president.,“Today’s proclamation ceremony by Congress marks another historic milestone in our political life as a nation underscoring that we are, indeed, a showcase and beacon of democracy in this part of the world,” Andanar said.,He reaffirmed the Executive branch’s commitment to “ensure a peaceful, orderly and smooth transfer of powers” to the incoming administration.,Officials will extend “all the necessary support and assistance to various transition activities,” Andanar said.,Marcos and Duterte-Carpio will inherit a plethora of problems while earning a strong mandate to guide the nation’s future economic and social directions.,Among the major issues that they will confront include poverty, which worsened because of large-scale lockdowns imposed by the Duterte administration to prevent the spread of Covid-19.,From 23 percent in 2015, poverty incidence dropped to a low of 16 percent in 2019. But the figure ballooned to 23.7 percent in 2021 at the height of the global health crisis, according to the Commission on Population and Development released this week.,The government’s outstanding debt hit a record P12.09 trillion as of end-February, as domestic and offshore borrowings increased.,It was a 16-percent jump from the country’s P10.4 trillion a year ago. — With a report from MJ BLANCAFLOR
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