Sara Duterte

Mixed reactions across provinces greet Sara Duterte’s resignation

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Mixed reactions across provinces greet Sara Duterte’s resignation

SUPPORT? Vice President Sara Duterte attends a prayer rally calling for the ouster of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Screenshot from PDP LABAN STREAM

Sara Duterte is likely to distance herself from her father’s circle, maintain and strengthen her political party, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, and field a full ticket for Senate seats in 2025

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte’s resignation has drawn mixed reactions, showing the complex political landscape and diverse expectations of Filipinos. 

Duterte resigned from her roles as education secretary and vice chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and Marcos accepted it, according to Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil. (LOOK: VP Sara Duterte’s resignation letter as DepEd secretary, NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson)

For many observers, Duterte’s decision signaled the end of the Uniteam alliance that brought them to power in 2022, and attention is now shifting to the future strategies of the once-united political camps.

The resignation has resulted in different reactions across the provinces, reflecting diverse political views.

The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Pimentel wing said Duterte’s decision to resign was “long overdue,” and only made the political divide between the Marcoses and Dutertes more pronounced.

Other than the political landscape, “her exit will not in any way affect basic education programs,” said PDP-Pimentel wing acting secretary general Manuel Jaudian. 

The PDP was the administration party during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, Sara’s father. The party ended up divided as the group of the then-president dominated the party and isolated the faction of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, son of the PDP’s founder.

The Cagayan de Oro-based Jaudian said Sara would likely distance herself from her father’s circle, maintain and strengthen her political party, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), and field a full ticket for Senate seats this October for the 2025 elections.

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In the Duterte family’s hometown of Davao, opinions were varied. Retired dressmaker Inday Marging, for instance, bluntly said, “It’s very good that she resigned, because she achieved nothing in the department and failed to handle controversies.”

Former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Peter Lavina lamented Duterte’s decision to quit and lashed out at the Marcos Jr. administration. 

“The government lost its most productive Cabinet member. She likely resigned because she couldn’t support an administration that curtails liberties and drags our country into unnecessary conflicts,” said Lavina, who once served as a Davao City councilor.

Former Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate, who hails from Davao, said the move of Duterte as well as the Uniteam’s collapse were long expected. 

Zarate said her resignation confirmed the disintegration of the Uniteam, and that “their alliance was based on selfish interests, not principles.” 

He said: “This will now signal an open war for dominance of the two camps and their allies to hoodwink the people once again into supporting each own faction. The people should now be more discerning and vigilant and reject these two camps that caused much misery to our people and country.”

In the Visayas, Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, a close ally of Duterte, said while Sara chose to quit as education secretary and NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson, “she remains the Vice President and still holds the people’s mandate.”

In Zamboanga City, Councilor Rogelio Valesco said Duterte can focus more on her duties as the second-highest ranking official in the country now that she has quit the Marcos Cabinet.

But Dr. Myra Borja Mangkabung, superintendent of the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education Lamitan City Division of Schools, said she was concerned about how Duterte’s resignation would affect the education department.

“The DepEd (Department of Education) is already improving, and with her resignation we will surely start all over again. It is sad that politics in the Philippines is so volatile and unstable,” Mangkabung said.

For Hans Noel Balila, Supreme Student Council president of the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Duterte should have quit a long time ago given that her lack of experience in the education sector only worsened the working conditions of teachers and the quality of instruction for students.

“Hopefully, the next DepEd secretary is a competent replacement who is able to appropriately answer the calls for teachers’ salary increase, does not antagonize teachers who campaign for their rights, and one that improves the quality of education for the students,” Balila said.

Conversely, a public school teacher in Angeles City, Pampanga, said he was relieved when he learned about Duterte’s resignation. 

“I’m glad she resigned. It was insulting for an education secretary to refuse raising teachers’ salaries while holding confidential funds. Her resignation feels like the world is finally healing,” he said. – Herbie Gomez, John Sitchon, Dennis Jay Santos, Erwin Delilan, Joann Manabat, and Teofilo Garcia Jr./

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