DAVAO CITY — Presumptive vice-president Sara Duterte-Carpio said on Monday that her push for the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) has nothing to do with her planned appointment as the next education secretary.
"Remind ko lang sa lahat ng matalino that the Department of Education is all about basic education, plus Alternative Learning System (ALS)," she said on Davao City Disaster Radio.
"So, it has nothing to do with ROTC. Walang connection," she added.
In January this year, Duterte-Carpio said that she would push for mandatory military service for all Filipinos 18 years old and above if elected vice-president.
"Nakikita po natin ito sa ibang bansa, sa South Korea, sa Israel. Nakikita po natin 'yan doon sa kanila. Hindi po ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps] lang na isang subject, o isang weekend o isang buwan sa isang taon," she had said.
(We see this being done in other countries like South Korea and Israel. It won't be like the ROTC that's just one subject, or just one weekend, or just one month in one year.)
When asked about her plans as the incoming Education secretary, Duterte-Carpio said she is awaiting her proclamation so she can sit down with the team of incumbent Education Sec. Leonor Briones.
"Sec. Briones already said that they are following a medium-term plan under the administration of President Duterte. Once we get that proclamation, we will start talking to the Department of Education," she said.
After that, she intends to consult with presumptive President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., her Halalan 2022 running mate, for his directives.
Duterte-Carpio said she accepted the offer to take the helm of the DepEd because education is among her priorities, along with jobs and peaceful living.
"Our learners should be competitive among our neighboring countries, not just in Asia, but globally, worldwide, and the quality that our learners will produce," she said in Cebuano.
Duterte-Carpio said she will also look into the learnings that the students may have missed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been raging on for more than 2 years now.
"First, many students did not go to school during the pandemic. Second, many of our learners did not really adopt the modular or online classes. I think their learning in the past 2 years would have been different if they were in a classroom setup," she said.
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 administrations of Marcos' father, which was marred by human rights abuses and corruption, and of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.
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 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Duterte-Carpio agreed that face-to-face graduation ceremonies should be allowed again, noting that Davao City is the first local government unit (LGU) in the country that created an executive order that does not object in-person classes in all levels.
— report from Hernel Tocmo