‘We are not ashamed’: Briones formally turns over DepEd leadership to VP Sara

Published July 4, 2022, 11:30 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Professor Emeritus Leonor Briones on Monday, July 4, formally turned over to Vice President Sara Duterte the leadership of the country’s biggest bureaucracy: the Department of Education (DepEd).

Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte (left) with former Education Secretary Leonor Briones during the ceremonial turnover of DepEd leadership on July 4, 2022. (Photo courtesy of DepEd)

In a ceremonial turnover at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Central Office in Pasig City, the former DepEd Chief welcomed Duterte as the new Education Secretary.

Briones also assured Duterte that she will have under her command the biggest “army” — over a million employees composed of officials, teaching, and non-teaching personnel.

During her farewell message, Briones passed on the “gospel of quality education” to Duterte under her term.

“There is much moaning and groaning about the bad news in education, especially on learning loss,” Briones said. “However, it is time to share the good news on learning gains,” she added.

Briones also highlighted the “gains” in DepEd’s fight for accessible and quality education such as the “Sulong EduKalidad,” empowerment of the regions, the country’s participation in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), National Educators’ Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) transformation, reforms in the financial management system and balancing Science and Humanities in the curriculum.

“In our fight for access and quality, our teachers are our heroes, and we have endeavored to take care of their welfare,” Briones said, highlighting the increase in salaries of teachers in the past years and improvement in their benefits and allowances.

Briones, however, stressed that all these accomplishments were a “collective effort” or a combination of leadership, hard work of all units at all levels of governance from the central office, regions, divisions, and schools; the dedication of teachers and school leaders; and the solidarity of DepEd’s partners.

Given this, Briones underscored that the former DepEd leadership has contributed much to uplifting the quality of education in the country.

“We are not ashamed. We are not embarrassed,” Briones said, noting that her leadership turns over to Duterte an organization that “persevered in spite of Covid-19 and an “organization which developed new initiatives and looks forward to a great future for our learners.”

Duterte, on her part, commended Briones and honored the men and women of the department who “stood firm and demonstrated great tenacity and courage to ensure that DepEd will be able to fulfill its mandate to the Filipino children at all times.”

“I would also like to acknowledge the equally devoted men and women, our Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries who supported Ma’am Liling in the last six years,” Duterte 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.