Vice President Sara Duterte named her predecessor in the Department of Education (DepEd), Leonor Briones, as her consultant.

“She was always generous with her advice. And I’m truly happy that she committed to stay on as a consultant for the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Education,” Duterte said.

The vice president and new Education chief praised Briones and the entire workforce of the education department for providing “quality education” to learners even during the pandemic. 

“Headed by Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, DepEd adopted and implemented bold, but necessary measures to provide Filipino children with accessible, quality education, ensuring that learning is unhampered, and our learners are not left out, while also ensuring the economic welfare of our teachers and the non-teaching personnel working under the organization,” she said.

“Secretary Liling is a force, and I am humbled and honored to follow the footsteps of a much admired academic, public servant, social activist and changemaker. I would also like to acknowledge the equally devoted men and women, our undersecretaries, assistant secretaries who supported Ma’am Liling in the last six years,” she added.

Duterte lauded her predecessor for being a dedicated and committed public servant amid intense public scrutiny and pressure.

“Secretary Liling and the whole Department of Education organization never cowered in the face of disapproval, public frustration and pressure. When some sectors called for an academic freeze, the response was academic ease. It was a brilliant, appropriate and timely response, made with will and resolve and foresight that our children’s learning is shielded from the adverse impacts of the pandemic,” she said.

Duterte also gave credit to Briones for the full implementation of the senior high school program which “provides graduates with necessary skills relevant in today’s dynamic workforce.” 

“Indeed, you have broken a glass ceiling in Philippine education history. Ma’am Liling, you have completed your mission, you fought the good fight, and we are all here today to celebrate the victories that you and the entire Department of Education have collected over the past six years of the Duterte administration,” she said.

“As I take the task of being the next Secretary of the Department of Education, I take inspiration from you, from your courage, dedication, your commitment, your integrity, selflessness and your grace,” she added.

Ronald Espartinez