Written by: Percy Paraan
Six years ago, Rodrigo Roa Duterte was proclaimed 16th President of the Philippines. On June 30, 2022, as he stepped down from position, his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio took oath as the 15th Vice President of the country. Both Dutertes seem to have a lot in common – both former Davao City mayors, lawyers, and last-minute candidacy filers, despite saying they wouldn’t run for a national position.
The Dutertes gained the trust of the public as they have portrayed an image of a public servant with “tapang at malasakit.” The father, also called “ Tatay Digong,” appeals to the ordinary people even as a strongman in his province. His daughter, known as “ Inday Sara,” charms Filipinos with her hardwork and strength of character.
Tatay Digong and Inday Sara may share the same blood, but do they share the same vision? Will the younger Duterte continue her father’s policies Or will she differ and create her own Duterte legacy?
On sustaining the Duterte legacy
Tatay Digong’s legacy was anchored on his war on drugs, infrastructure programs, pandemic response, and economic development. Notable laws passed during his administration include the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education, Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, Universal Health Care Act, Bangsamoro Organic Law, and Anti-Terrorism Law.
During the campaign period, VP Sara promised to continue two of her father’s legacy projects. First is to fight against crime and illegal drugs, but in her own way. She vowed to win the war with love and fair enforcement by building more rehabilitation centers and providing livelihood to dependents. And second is to carry on with the Build, Build, Build Program that aims to increase mobility and accessibility to achieve the “golden age of infrastructure.
”Former President Duterte also called for the implementation of mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in senior high school to inculcate patriotism and nation-building. Meanwhile, shortly after being elected, VP Sara expressed her support to push for mandatory military service of Filipinos upon turning 18 years old.
“VP Sara promised to continue two of her father’s legacy projects. First is to fight against crime and illegal drugs, but in her own way. And second is to carry on with the Build, Build, Build Program that aims to increase mobility and accessibility.”
On building her own Duterte legacy
The younger Duterte has declared approval and sup port to some of her father’s initiatives but as Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) chief at the same time, she is clearly set to diverge from her father’s leadership. With over 32 million votes, VP Sara has won the hearts of the Filipinos for her promise of “hope, security, strength, stability, and progress.”
“I am Inday Sara. A proud Dabawenya. A proud Mindanawon. I am not the best, or the smartest person in the Philippines and in the world but nothing can beat fortitude,” she said during her oath-taking ceremony.
To mark her first 100 days, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) released a list of accomplishments that mostly revolved around releasing assistance to different sectors. Over P134 million worth of medical and burial assistance was given to 13,315 indigent Filipinos by the OVP and seven satellite offices it has established across the country. In partnership with the Department of Health, at least 31 public hospitals are covered by the program. The OVP has also joined forces with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the provision of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation.
VP Sara also launched the Libreng Sakay Program that has provided free bus rides to 98,293 people in 1,470 trips. Five buses are deployed nationwide – two in Metro Manila, one in Cebu, one in Bacolod, and one in Davao City.
“I am Inday Sara. A proud Dabawenya. A proud Mindanawon. I am not the best, or the smartest person in the Philippines and in the world but nothing can beat fortitude.”
As part of the “PagbaBAGo” campaign, the OVP was able to distribute school supplies and hygiene kits to 3,220 students from six remote areas in the country — Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte, Jordan town in Island Province of Guimaras, Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, Siguijor Province, Dasmariñas in Cavite, and Bangued in Abra. This aims to highlight the importance of education and health to succeed in life. VP Sara also took this opportunity to discuss with parents family planning and responsible parenthood.
As Education secretary, VP Sara has also faced a fair share of controversies such as the P650 million confidential funds for OVP and DepEd and purchasing of overpriced laptops. But during her first few months in office, she believes her greatest achievement was the resumption of face-to-face classes of at least 90% of the 47,000 public schools nationwide.
The OVP has also cited accomplishments on diplomatic efforts to strengthen bilateral relations with other countries. She has already met with ambassadors from Australia, Italy, Ireland, Vietnam, Laos, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, the European Union, Qatar, India, and United States. A week after inauguration, VP Sara Duterte received a courtesy call from China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Among topics discussed in her diplomatic engagements was exploring partnerships in the areas of education, culture, and technology.
In September, she flew to Japan and United Kingdom as the President’s Special Envoy to the State Funeral for former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and Queen Elizabeth II respectively. This marks her first two official trips out of the country.
The Vice President is confident that the country is just starting and Filipinos can expect more from her in the coming days. “And in the coming days, there will be more challenges ahead — challenges that we hope to turn into opportunities to be able to serve you and the country better,” VP Sara said.