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VP Sara Duterte Rebuts Calls for Next DepEd Chief to Come from Education Sector

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Following her resignation as Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), Vice President Sara Duterte has responded to suggestions that the next DepEd chief should have a background in education. Speaking to reporters in Cagayan de Oro, Duterte emphasized that there is no specific requirement for the position to be filled by someone from the education sector.

“The position of the Secretary is a position of trust and confidence, unang una (first and foremost). Pangalawa, walang nakalagay na requirements para sa isang education secretary (second, there is no requirement for who should be an education secretary),” Duterte stated.

She further noted that in Southeast Asia, not all education secretaries come from the education sector. “In fact, dito sa Southeast Asia kung makikita ninyo, hindi lahat ng education secretaries are from the education sector,” she added.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition recently advocated for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to appoint a non-political figure with a background in education as the next DepEd Secretary. The group believes this would help shield the department from political disputes and ensure its focus remains on educational goals.

Despite her resignation being effective on July 19, Duterte has not speculated on who her successor will be. “Wala akong [I have no] idea, but we welcome the new appointee of the President,” she remarked.

Duterte clarified that her decision to resign was made in the best interest of the department, its teachers, and students. During the launch of the Kindergarten to Grade 10 (K-10) curriculum in August 2023, she admitted her reliance on the expertise of other officials due to her lack of background in education.

“I do not come from the education sector, I don’t have an education background so I cannot review what they’re doing and I rely on their expertise and all the stakeholders who did the review,” Duterte said at the time. “Ang magawa ko lang is I do very well, admittedly, is magpukpok talaga ng tao [is to push people] to do what they’re supposed to do.”

Duterte’s remarks highlight the debate over qualifications for leadership roles in education and underscore the importance of managerial and leadership skills in the effective administration of the DepEd.


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