PRESUMPTIVE vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio said on Thursday she has agreed to head the Department of Education instead of the defense agency, which she earlier expressed preference for, to avoid intrigues that she would use the position to destroy the supposed unity forged by their camp.
Ms. Duterte said she and presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. discussed the possibility of her becoming the chief of the Department of National Defense (DND) before the campaign but decided to let go of the plan after the May 9 polls.
“I expect that people who want to see the new administration fail will fabricate intrigues about my loyalty and the DND position to break the UniTeam,” she said in a statement, referring to their alliance, which has been described by academics as the coalition of influential clans in the country.
Ms. Duterte said it was decided that she would work on producing skilled learners with the mindset to realize their full potential as individuals.
“Our generation needs a future generation of patriotic Filipinos [who will] advocate peace and discipline in their respective communities,” said the presidential daughter.
During the campaign, Ms. Carpio said she would push for the return of a mandatory military training for youth, which was abolished for enabling abuses committed by implementers in schools.
Education groups have slammed the planned appointment, citing Ms. Carpio’s lack of experience in the learning sector.
The Teachers Dignity Coalition said they prefer to have an Education chief from their ranks, “preferably a classroom teacher or someone who has previous experience as part of the education sector.”
Other groups cited the possibility of a total wipeout of education on the country’s history regarding the martial rule of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
“Under Secretary Duterte, book-purging will worsen, historical distortion will become more rampant, and fake news will ultimately be normalized,” the Student Christian Movement said in a statement.
“The horrors of Marcos and Duterte [administrations] will be sanitized,” it said.
The Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), the largest book industry alliance in the Philippines, and various academic groups last year waged a campaign against efforts by President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s anti-communist task force to purge libraries in some schools of books and documents deemed subversive.
“What we need is a leadership that recognizes the learning crisis, the desperate quality of education, the chronically underpaid status of teachers, and the denigration of the country’s sense of history,” the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said.
Outgoing Education Secretary Leonor M. Briones welcomed the potential appointment, saying she and her colleagues at the agency “are ready to work with her team for the orderly transition of leadership.”
Ms. Briones said the Education department will turn over a medium term plan for the learning sector. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza