OBLIGATORY SELFIE. Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte shares her "obligatory selfie" with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for the celebration of his 65th birthday on Tuesday (Sept. 13, 2022). Duterte thanked Marcos for supporting both her duties as a public official and a mother. (Photo Courtesy: Office of the Vice President)

MANILA – Both Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Prospero de Vera expressed warm greetings on Tuesday as President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. celebrated his 65th birthday.

In a Viber message to reporters, Duterte lightly said she has secured a picture with the chief executive for the special “obligatory birthday” pose.

“I told PBB (President Bongbong), we need a selfie because the socmed (social media) team needs an obligatory birthday selfie, hence the smileys,” she said.

Duterte thanked the President for allowing her to fulfill her duties not only as a public official but also as a mother, referring to her being allowed to utilize an Air Force aircraft so she can go home to her kids. 

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte stands near an Air Force chopper that brought her home to see her kids (Photo Courtesy: Office of the Vice President)

 “Thank you, PBB, and your 250th PAW for ensuring that wherever I may be found in the country during the day, I am home in time to tuck my children to bed. Thank you for putting a premium on the desire of a working mother to be present in her children’s lives,” she said.

She added warm wishes for the President as he braced for the “difficult road ahead.”

“I wish God’s favor upon you as you celebrate your birthday and pray that you are given the strength and wisdom for the difficult road ahead. Happy Birthday! I wish you good health and happiness,” she said.

Besides the Department of Education (DepEd) head, the CHED chief also gave his birthday greetings to the President.

Greetings from the Commission on Higher Education during the 65th birthday of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

In a Facebook post, De Vera commended Marcos’ support in ensuring quality and accessible education for all.

“Happy birthday, President Bongbong Marcos! Salamat sa pagpapatuloy ng libre, de kalidad at makabuluhang edukasyon para sa kabataang Pilipino! (Thank you for continuing free, quality, and meaningful education for the Filipino youth),” he said.

Under his leadership, Marcos underscored the need to prioritize the Philippine curriculum; the advancement of Math, Science, and Technology; the urgency to address education and job mismatch; and the resumption of in-person classes to address the “learning loss” brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

For basic education, schools are allowed to conduct blended learning modalities with in-person class schedules. However, mandatory implementation of face-to-face classes will start by Nov. 2.

For higher education institutions, the CHED has also followed DepEd’s pronouncement on non-discrimination for unvaccinated students, teaching, and non-teaching personnel, allowing them to attend classes on-site. (PNA)