HONORING TEACHERS. Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte (right) joins First Lady Marie Louise Araneta-Marcos as they celebrate World Teachers' Day at the Abra Sports Complex on Wednesday (Oct. 5, 2022). Duterte emphasized the importance of honoring the "dedication and integrity" of teachers nationwide. (Photo courtesy of DepEd)

MANILA – Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte highlighted the vital role of teachers in nation building and shaping the next generation of Filipinos, as the country celebrated World Teachers' Day on Wednesday.

In an interview at the Abra Sports Complex, Duterte urged the public to express their gratitude to teachers for their dedication and passion to educate learners.

“Ang ating pong mga guro ay ating mga dangal ng bayan, and dapat po nating bigyan ng importansya ang kanilang role sa ating nation building. Napakahalaga po ng ating mga guro (Our teachers are the honor of our nation. We should recognize their importance in nation building. Our teachers are very significant) in molding the youth, which is the future of our country,” she said.

“Lahat ng mga teachers na nadaanan natin ay magpasalamat tayo sa kanilang dedication, sa kanilang integrity, sa kanilang disiplina na tulungan tayong lahat (All of the teachers we have encountered, let’s thank them all for their dedication, their integrity, and their discipline in helping us).”

Duterte, meanwhile, disclosed that most teachers have been requesting “additional school facilities” to upgrade their teaching modes.

However, she noted that because the Department of Education (DepEd) is only working on “meager resources,” the lack of infrastructures is being “carefully assessed” to identify reasonable prioritization.

“So mayroon kaming checklist na ginawa, mayroon kaming point system na ginawa para sa infrastructure project, para naa-address ‘yung access, ‘yung equity, o ‘yung pag-distribute ng resources sa iba’t ibang local government units natin na nangangailangan (So, we have secured a checklist, we have a point system to address the access, equity, or the [equal] distribution of resources to various local government units in need),” Duterte said.

The vice president also shared most of the concerns that several educators in magnitude 7 quake-hit Abra have raised.

“Maraming mga questions about permanency ng kanilang mga eskwelahan. And of course ‘yung infrastructure na kailangan nila para sa kanilang pagtuturo, both soft and hard – buildings and movables na mga gamit nila (There are many questions on the permanency of schools, and of course, the infrastructure needed for their teaching, both soft and hard –buildings, and movable equipment),” she said.

Duterte decided to join the World Teachers' Day celebration in Bangued, Abra, to “uplift the morale” of the education sector in areas hit by the strong tremor on July 27.

“Nandito po tayo sa Abra ngayon para magbigay ng moral support sa pinagdadaanan ng ating mga teachers, especially nanggaling sila sa isang matinding earthquake. It’s magnitude 7 na earthquake. And of course, nandito tayo para magbigay ng konting saya para sa kanila sa araw na ito (We are here in Abra now to give moral support to our teachers who are facing [challenges], especially because they had experienced a terrible quake. It was a magnitude 7 earthquake. And of course, we are here to give them a little bit of joy this day),” she said.

Alongside the nationwide celebration of World Teachers’ Day, the distribution of cash incentives worth PHP1,000 for each public school teacher was rolled out on Wednesday. (PNA)