Department of Education

Vice President visits Cebu on first day of classes

John Sitchon

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Vice President visits Cebu on first day of classes

EDUCATION. Vice President Sara Duterte talks to students of Melecio B. Tito Elementary School in Barangay Oguis, Danao City, Cebu on the first day of classes, August 29.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Vice President Sara Duterte, the concurrent education secretary, goes to Danao City on the first day of classes to attend the turnover ceremony of classrooms at the Melecio B. Tito Elementary School

CEBU, Philippines – On the opening day of classes on Tuesday, August 29, Vice President Sara Duterte was on hand to greet the families and children of Barangay Oguis in Danao City, Cebu.

Earlier, Duterte, the concurrent education secretary, was at the Kaluangan 1 Primary School in the municipality of Asturias.

At the Melecio B. Tito Elementary School, Duterte led the turnover ceremony of newly built classrooms which were part of the Last Mile Schools Program for an upland barangay.

“This is part of our Last Mile Schools program of the Department of Education (DepEd) that aims to ensure the access of our learners from far barangays where some parents decide not to enroll their children due to the distance needed to be travelled,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

In 2019, DepEd launched the Last Mile Schools program to provide quality basic education to children from Geographically Isolated, Disadvantaged and Conflict-Affected (GIDCA) areas.

The new classrooms at the Melecio B. Tito Elementary School, Duterte said, were from the previous administration, under the leadership of then-education secretary Leonor Briones.

The reason for the delay of the construction of the classrooms was not disclosed.

History in Danao

The Vice President’s family has connections with the political history of Cebu and its leading clans—one of them being the Osmeñas.

In January 4, 1946, Don Sergio Osmeña Sr., the “Grand Old Man of Cebu,” appointed Vicente Gonzales Duterte as acting mayor of Danao.

Vicente Gonzales Duterte was a practicing lawyer and the father of the former president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.

Soon after Osmeña lost to then-senator Manuel Roxas in the April 1946 presidential election, the former acting mayor left and moved to Davao.

‘Great equalizer’

“They always say that education is the greatest equalizer,” the Vice President said during her speech.

Duterte explained that when young students from both rich and poor backgrounds dream of graduating from their studies and achieve such a feat, they gain the same equal opportunities that will help them and their families.

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers in Central Visayas (ACT VII) complained that they were overworked and underpaid.

“According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Region VII President Mr. Christopher Abrajano, with the increasing prices of goods and services, the entry salary of Teacher 1, which is P27,000, is not enough to sustain their family needs,” read their statement.

According to the alliance, teachers have been shelling out cash from their own pockets to help the learning needs of their students, receiving little to no incentives despite numerous overtimes and the like.

“Even with the existence of annual allowances, teachers have received less of what they deserve and need, such as the case of the rice allowances where teachers received inedible sacks of rice,” ACT VII said.

The alliance also slammed the department on its receiving confidential funds, stating the money could have financed the construction of the 159,000 classrooms still needed nationwide.

As of this writing, DepEd has yet to provide an explanation as to why the classroom deficit has worsened, despite the huge increase in their confidential funds. –

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