“Honesty is not an election issue nor a requirement for public office.” Such is one of the quotable quotes from the past from the current DepEd secretary, who is the VP herself.
True to form, VP Sara Duterte has requested for P500-million confidential expenses for 2024, as SUCs’ budget was reduced by 5 percent.
And when the Appropriations Committee was deliberating on her DepEd budget, particularly for her to explain how she will spend the requested amount, and how in 19 days she spent P125 million of her confidential funds last 2022, she immediately left the meeting after 21 members of the Committee terminated any discussion on the issue. This was despite Rep. France Castro’s attempt to explain her objection to the requested amount.
It looked like DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte preferred giving the impression that she can be dishonest by suddenly leaving the meeting and not giving any opportunity to be asked to explain how her budget would be spent.
People are asking how sincere is she in holding such an important and sensitive cabinet position that is supposed to deepen and strengthen the initial bedrock of knowledgeable and educated population – the Filipino children and youth.
Among her first directive was to remove all decorations in the classroom, such as the alphabet, numbers, map of the Philippines, quotable inspirational quotes, the Philippine map, children’s art works, photos of Filipino heroes, etc.
She believes that these decorations are distractions from learning their lessons from the teachers. BUT apparently, before issuing her directive, she did not bother to make wide consultations with experienced academicians.
Her priorities have raised eyebrows: while her predecessors, Bro. Armin Luistro and Ms. Leonor Briones, never asked for “confidential expenses,” Sec. Sara Duterte as VP has a budget of P500 million, much higher than the confi-intel funds of only P438.2 of the DND and NICA combined (according to Sen. Risa Hontiveros); Sara had 433 security escorts (how much of the people’s money is allocated as salaries to these security personnel?); classroom shortage in 2022 was 40,000 and for 2023, 159,000; and lately, COA flagged DepEd over unauthorized bank accounts with P362.8 million.
The Filipino people, especially the parents, are asking: when do we expect our children and youth to be truly world-class in Reading Comprehension, Science, Technology and Mathematics?
Is VP/DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte up to her task and mandate as a Public Servant in charge of raising our standing as among the top highly educated people in the international community?
Strong doubts remain, given her track record so far.
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