'I'll kill criminals' Duterte sworn in as Philippines president

The controversial former mayor of Davao City, 71, overthrew the political establishment, promising a "bloody war" on crime and action on corruption.

During his speech at the presidential palace, Duterte highlighted that among the key problems that now "bedevil" Philippines are "corruption, both in the high and low echelons in government, criminality in the streets and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippines society and the breakdown of law and order".

Duterte took his oath after former President Benigno Aquino III officially stepped down from office.

New Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, and Vice President Leni Robredo face the media as the two meet for the first time at the Change-of-Command ceremony for incoming Armed Forces chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya Friday, July 1, 2016 at Camp Aguinaldo in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines.

He is related to powerful clans from the central Philippines and his father was an influential politician, serving for three years as a cabinet secretary in Ferdinand Marcos's 1960s government before the nation was plunged into dictatorship in 1972.

But this "nobody" promised change to his countrymen and Filipinos said yes to this change even though he had been shrouded with much controversy and criticized by the Church and foreign countries.

The new president of the Philippines has promised to be "relentless" in the fight against crime.

"It's a cliffhanger so we should decide right", Duterte said.

But whatever it is, Rodrigo Duterte has been sworn in as the president of Philippines in the wake of his landslide victory in May.

He also said that as a lawyer, he knows "the limits of the powers" of the president.

In an era where populist politicians are on the rise around the world, Duterte also shrewdly capitalised on his image as a man-of-the people with no tolerance for the nation's political and business elite.

"I assure you you won't go bankrupt. Because I'd kill you", he said while addressing his supporters at the conclusion of his election campaign last month.

"I was not elected to serve the interest of any person or any group or any one class", Duterte told more than 600 guests at the President's Hall in Malacanang. "Shoot him and I'll give you a medal".

"Drugs have reached the hinterlands... what if you use your kangaroo courts to kill them to speed up the solution to our problem", Mr Duterte said in a speech before the military's top brass in Manila.

Duterte said there should be "a soft landing". In May, he said that he would consider negotiating directly with China over conflicting claims in the South China Sea, if the Philippines' and the United States' long-standing advocacy of a regional response made no progress.

Yasay then started discussing what the Philippines should do if China "will dig in and put us to the test" but then abruptly stopped.

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