MANILA - Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio on Thursday quashed talk of a possible rift with her running-mate, presidential forerunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, after she was offered the education department portfolio instead of the Department of National Defense.
In a statement, Duterte-Carpio thanked Marcos "for the confidence in me to lead the Department of Education."
The vice-presidential frontrunner said she and Marcos talked about the defense department portfolio "but seeing the way things are at the moment, I expect that people who want to see the new administration to fail will fabricate intrigues about my loyalty and the DND position to break the UniTeam."
"Yesterday, the presumptive President and I once again talked about how I could help the country. It was decided that I would work on producing skilled learners with the mindset to realize their full potential as individuals," she said.
"Our country needs a future generation of patriotic Filipinos that advocate peace and discipline in their respective communities."
Duterte-Carpio has secured 31,560,847 votes from from 98.35% of Election Returns Thursday morning, based on partial and unofficial results.
Liloan town mayor Christina Frasco earlier told ANC's Headstart that Duterte-Carpio wanted to be appointed defense secretary. Hours later, Marcos announced that Duterte-Carpio had already agreed take on the role of education secretary.
Nag-agree naman siya (She agreed to it)," Marcos said.
"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 spokesman Vic Rodriguez noted Duterte-Carpio is qualified to lead the Department of Education as she is a lawyer.
"Is she qualified? Definitely. She’s a lawyer. She has the confidence of the 31 million Filipinos who voted her into office. She enjoys the trust and confidence of President-elect Bongbong. Let’s give her a chance so that she can run ably the Department of Education," Rodriguez said.
"He (Marcos) believes that Vice President-elect Sara Duterte can lead the Department of Education well and he believes she is up to the challenge."
Duterte-Carpio, during the campaign, said she would push for mandatory military service for all Filipinos after they turn 18 years old.
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.
In her statement, Duterte-Carpio thanked Education Secretary Leonor Briones and the entire DepEd organization "for their readiness to work with our team for the transition of leadership after the proclamation."
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.)