An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) expressed optimism that having presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte as the incoming secretary will be an “advantage” to the country’s largest government bureaucracy.
“Ang tingin ko, magagamit niya ang (I think she can use) political capital… na parang mas magiging madali kumuha ng suporta (to make it easier to get support) from all the sectors considering na napakataas ng kanyang posisyon at meron siyang mandato sa mamayang Pilipino (that she holds a very high position and she has a mandate to the Filipino people),” DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio said in a DZRH interview on Wednesday, May 25.
The incumbent Davao City mayor was chosen as the incoming DepEd Secretary as announced by presumptive president Bongbong Marcos.
For San Antonio, Duterte’s position as the second-highest official in the executive branch of the Philippine government will be beneficial for DepEd.
“Advantage talaga yun na kung ang mangyayari ay may mga dagdag na resources na kailangan ang DepEd, mukhang mas madali kasi Vice President ang nakikisuyo (It’s really an advantage because DepEd needs extra resources, it might be easier because the Vice President is the one making the request),” San Antonio said.
In particular, San Antonio said that Duterte’s position might be an advantage especially when it comes to requesting a budget for DepEd from Congress.
“We all know that there is a process when it comes to the budget and DepEd has been getting support for education,” San Antonio said in a mix of English and Filipino.
However, having the country’s vice president as DepEd Secretary might make things for the agency easier.
“Baka naman mas overwhelming ang support sa DepEd (Perhaps the support for DepEd will be more overwhelming),” San Antonio said.
When asked how DepEd is preparing for Duterte’s leadership, San Antonio said that the existing programs are still in place.
San Antonio said that since current Secretary Leonor Briones is very “proactive and strategic” the transition is expected to be smooth and orderly.
“Yung mga tinapos, kahit yung Basic Education Plan hanggang 2030 na binuo sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga stakeholders ay kasama sa itu-turn over sa transition (Those that have been completed, even the Basic Education Plan until 2030 developed in collaboration with stakeholders, are included in the turn over during the transition),” San Antonio said.
While the incoming administration may have other priorities, San Antonio expressed confidence that the programs for education will remain the same.
“Sa karanasan ko, ‘di naman talaga pinapalitan lahat ng programa (In my experience, not all programs are really changed),” he said.
What might change, he said, is the emphasis given on certain programs based on the overall priority of the administration.
“Usually naman yung mga directors natin sa mga bureau, sila naman ang mga nagpapatakbo ng mga programa at sila naman halos ang nandiyan (Usually our directors in the bureaus, they are the ones who run the programs and they are expected to still be there),” he added.