MANILA (UPDATE) — Leading vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio has agreed to take on the role of education secretary, her running mate and presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.
In a press briefing, Marcos said Duterte-Carpio's assignment as Department of Education (DepEd) chief would be his first "nomination" before the Commission on Appointments should he be proclaimed the country's next chief executive.
"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 (Duterte-Carpio) has agreed to take the brief of Department of Education," he said.
Marcos said he asked Duterte-Carpio, daughter of the incumbent president, if she could handle being education secretary, given the difficult work the job entails.
"Nag-agree naman siya," he said.
(She agreed to it.)
"Palagay ko, kasama na diyan, dahil (I think this is also because) 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," he added.
Marcos has yet to name any other member of his Cabinet.
The son of the late dictator is leading the presidential race by a huge margin, according to Comelec's partial and unofficial tally.
Marcos Jr currently has over 31 million votes, more than double the 14.8 million of second-placer Vice President Leni Robredo, based on 98 percent of election returns transmitted as of Wednesday night.
Duterte-Carpio will be overseeing the agency responsible for the K-12 curriculum taught to over 27 million students. This includes how it discusses the history of her running mate's father as well as her own father's administration.
The DepEd is also trying to improve education quality following the Philippines' poor standing in international learning assessments, and is in the process of gradually reopening schools for in-person classes, which were banned in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said she welcomed Marcos’ announcement.
“I and the DepEd family are ready to work with her (Duterte-Carpio) team for the orderly transition of DepEd leadership,” she said in a statement.
“We will turn over the Basic Education Plan 2030, the first time that an outgoing administration will leave behind a medium-term plan. We are confident that DepEd will be in able hands and anticipate a continuity,” Briones added.
In an interview with ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) chairperson Benjo Basas said his group would have preferred if the next education secretary had a public school background.
But the TDC is open to working with Duterte-Carpio, whom Basas hoped would be willing to listen to teachers.
"We are willing to sit and we are willing to discuss our advocacies, our plans and we are also willing to hear her plans," Basas said.
Asked about a possible historical revisionism under Duterte-Carpio, Basas acknowledged that there could be a conflict but said, "Naniniwala kami na ang history natin ay recorded na, ang history natin ay established na, may facts na ito, hindi na ito puwedeng baguhin."
(We believe that our history is recorded, our history is already established, there are facts and these cannot be changed.)