It’s a comeback for the infamous Marcos dynasty in the Philippines. For decades, the regime had enslaved the people. Now the son of the former dictator is taking charge of the country.

Dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has been sworn in as the 17th President of the Philippines. Thousands of supporters gathered for the ceremony in front of the National Museum in Manila on Thursday. The 64-year-old Marcos Jr. clearly won the presidential election on May 9th.

This marks the return of the infamous Marcos dynasty to the Malacañang Palace in the capital, 36 years after their expulsion from the island nation.

“I’m not here to talk about the past. I’m here to tell you about our future,” Marcos Jr. said in his inaugural address. He is aiming for a future without shortages, but admitted that the next few months could be difficult. His government is working on a plan for the “economic transformation” of the country, which has been economically affected by the corona pandemic. He looks ahead: “On the path we have to take to reach a place that is better than the one we lost to the pandemic.”

Marcos Jr. succeeds outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, who was internationally controversial for his brutal fight against drug-related crime. Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of the ex-president, had successfully run for the office of vice president and is now running alongside Marcos Jr.

Transfigured look back

During the election campaign, Marcos Jr. repeatedly glorified the past as a supposed “golden age” full of prosperity. Many young voters have no personal memory of the Marcos regime, martial law or a life of fear. This target group attracted BBM – as he is also called – via social media. Millions follow him on Tiktok and Youtube. There he spread the slogan “Unity” to tackle the consequences of the corona pandemic.

Marcos Jr. has never distanced himself from his parents’ legacy. The Marcos regime of Ferdinand (1917-1989) and his eccentric wife Imelda – who attended the inauguration at the age of 92 – once ruled with murder and torture, political opponents disappeared without a trace. In 1986, the family was expelled from the island nation and fled to Hawaii.

The couple is said to have diverted billions from the state coffers over the years. After the family fled, hundreds of handbags and dresses and thousands of pairs of shoes belonging to First Lady Imelda Marcos were found in Malacañang Palace. After the dictator’s death in 1989, the family returned to the Philippines in the early 1990s.

Since then, several family members have been elected to political office. With the presidency of Marcos Jr., the family’s return to power is now complete. His election has also raised critical voices in the country.

“We will continue to expose tyranny and greed,” said a statement Thursday from the Manila-based Carmma group, which is campaigning against the return of the Marcos family to the presidential palace. “We will not forget and will not tire of fighting false narratives and historical distortions – even if they (the Marcos’) are back in power.”