MANILA, Philippines (3rd update 7:50 p.m.) — Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, now the presumptive vice president-elect, has agreed to take over the Department of Education as its secretary.
Her running-mate, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who is leading in the polls by a landslide, announced Duterte's Cabinet post as the first appointment of his administration two days after the May 9 elections.
“I think I am already authorized to announce the first nominee that we will be giving to the Commission on Appointments when the time comes should I be proclaimed. And that is that our incoming vice president has agreed to take the brief of Department of Education,” he said.
Marcos said he asked Duterte if she can take on the difficult job of being an education secretary.
“But she agreed and I think, part of it, is she is a mother and she wants to make sure that her children are well-trained and well-educated. That's the best motivation that we can hope for,” Marcos continued.
As education chief, Duterte, currently the mayor of Davao City, is expected to deal with and address what has been called a deep-rooted and complex education crisis.
Poor teaching and learning conditions, student test scores that lag behind Southeast Asian peers and insufficient instructional facilities worsened by the coronavirus pandemic are seen among the most immediate problems to address in the sector.
Duterte, a lawyer, has a bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy from San Pedro College in Davao. She also attended San Beda University, her father's alma mater, and obtained a law degree from San Sebastian College-Recoletos in Manila. She has no formal experience in the education sector.
In January, Duterte said that if she gets elected, she will push for mandatory military service for Filipinos aged 18 and up. But she explained that her proposal would be different from the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps — that her father, President Rodrigo Duterte also wanted to be revived but did not materialize.
She also said that if she wins, she would replicate the disaster preparedness training the Sangguniang Kabataan in Davao City conducted, where they also conducted a community emergency response team training.
Meanwhile, Marcos said in the same statement that his transition team is preparing to appoint economic managers as among the crucial initial steps.