Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio on Monday underscored the urgent need to strengthen the education system in the country.
Duterte made this observation as she took over the reins of the Department of Education (DepEd), and named her predecessor, former Education Secretary Leonor Briones, as her consultant.
In a virtual discussion with National Private Education Association, Duterte acknowledged the “strain on public schools” due to numerous transfers of students from private schools amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“There is an urgent need to build back and build back stronger and better. The migration of students from private to public schools has put enormous strain on our public schools,” she said.
The vice president also said her team is carefully looking into the situation of private schools.
“I have taken notes. And would like to assure you that we will take these issues into consideration, with the hope of coming up with appropriate actions and effective solutions… I understand that many private schools across the country are suffering from losses,” she added.
She said she expects the sector’s support for government to come up with remedial measures.
“I ask for your indulgence as I also expect your support as we study and explore the appropriate measures to resolve issues and concerns,” she said.
Duterte earlier announced the opening of several satellite offices nationwide to further streamline services.
In her Facebook post, Duterte said these include Dagupan, Cebu, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Davao, and Tandag in Surigao del Sur.
Lawyer Reynold Munsayac, Duterte’s spokesperson, said the OVP satellite were launched on July 1, the first day of Duterte’s term as Vice President. These offices are open to the public Monday to Friday.
Munsayac said the opening of the satellite offices is part of the Vice President’s “earnest efforts” to make sure the OVP is closer to the people.
Meanwhile, Duterte showed Briones with praises. “She was always generous with her advice. And I’m truly happy that she committed to stay on as a consultant for the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Education.”
Duterte also lauded the department’s workforce under Briones for continuing to provide quality education to Filipino students.
“Headed by Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, DepEd adopted and implemented bold, but necessary measures to provide Filipino children with accessible, quality education, ensuring that learning is unhampered, and our learners are not left out, while also ensuring the economic welfare of our teachers and the non-teaching personnel working under the organization,” the new DepEd Secretary said.
“Secretary Liling (Briones)is a force, and I am humbled and honored to follow the footsteps of a much admired academic, public servant, social activist and changemaker. I would also like to acknowledge the equally devoted men and women, our undersecretaries, assistant secretaries who supported Ma’am Liling in the last six years,” she added. Duterte cited Briones for being always a “dedicated and committed public servant who is selfless and committed to her job even amid immense pressure.”
“Secretary Liling and the whole Department of Education organization never cowered in the face of disapproval, public frustration and pressure. When some sectors called for an academic freeze, the response was academic ease. It was a brilliant, appropriate and timely response, made with will and resolve and foresight that our children’s learning is shielded from the adverse impacts of the pandemic,” she said.
Duterte credited Briones for the full implementation of the senior high school program which “provides graduates with necessary skills relevant in today’s dynamic workforce.”
“Indeed, you have broken a glass ceiling in Philippine education history. Ma’am Liling, you have completed your mission, you fought the good fight, and we are all here today to celebrate the victories that you and the entire Department of Education have collected over the past six years of the Duterte administration,” she said.
“As I take the task of being the next Secretary of the Department of Education, I take inspiration from you, from your courage, dedication, your commitment, your integrity, selflessness and your grace,” she
added. Duterte admitted however, that work does not get any easier.
“I will also take the task with the reminder that we shall continue to find ways to improve basic education in terms of access, quality, equality, resiliency and governance. To produce learners who can achieve their full potential, as individuals who are responsible, skilled, knowledgeable, productive and determined to achieve their dreams for themselves and for our country,” she said.
“We look forward to working with you as we take on the task of helping our children become our country’s assets,” she added.