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Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Sunday afternoon broke tradition by holding her inauguration as vice president in advance, or 11 days ahead of the oathtaking of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Under Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, the new president and vice president are to assume office at noon on June 30.
Thousands packed the entire stretch of San Pedro Street in Davao City to witness the oathtaking of President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter and their three-time mayor as the country’s 15th vice president.
She would still be addressed as vice president-elect since the incumbent, Leni Robredo, remains in office until noon on June 30, according to Foreign Assistant Secretary Ed Meñez.
People cheered upon seeing her father arrive at San Pedro Square for the ceremony. Further applause greeted Marcos Jr. when he came up on stage later to shake the hand of the outgoing chief executive and be photographed with him, Sara, and her mother Elizabeth Zimmerman at the end of the program.
The 44-year-old vice president-elect, who wore an emerald-green chiffon gown designed by her longtime fashion consultant Silverio Anglacer, took her oath before Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, whom her father appointed to the Supreme Court in 2018. She earlier said the associate justice was her teacher at San Beda and a close family friend.
The oathtaking was preceded by a Mass officiated by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who praised the mayor for her humility.
In her inaugural speech, Sara said one of the most important lessons she learned in life was to commit to heart three priorities: God, country, and family.
“My life is a testament to the power of a God, whom we know by many names. My younger self was consumed by a dream to become a doctor. I pursued a pathway that I thought could help me realize that dream, but I was directed toward another way. And now I am a lawyer,” she said.
The days ahead would be full of challenges that call for the people to be more united as a nation, she added.
“But let me reiterate this — we can never go wrong if we are a people dedicated to honoring the will of God, to serving our country and our fellowmen, and protecting the integrity of our families and the future of our children,” she said.
The voice of the 32.2 million Filipinos who voted for her “was loud and clear with the message to serve our motherland.”
“And this message has been reiterated in my oath: to consecrate myself to the service of the nation,” she stressed.
Sara, who served as Davao City mayor in three separate terms, said she chose her hometown as the site of her inauguration to pay tribute to its people and thank them for the many things they taught her as a public servant.
“They taught me how to be more patient,” she said.
The Davao politician first caught national attention in 2011, a year into her first mayoral term, when she punched a court sheriff in a tense exchange during a demolition.
A lawyer and a colonel in the Philippine Army Reserve Command, Sara entered politics in 2007 when she ran for vice mayor in tandem with her father, who was then going for his third term as mayor. In 2010, Sara ran for mayor for the first time and won, this time with her father as the vice mayor.
Three years later, Mr. Duterte was back as mayor and his daughter went into private law practice. In 2016, she again ran for mayor as her father sought and won the presidency.
Last year, she first filed a certificate of candidacy for reelection as mayor but later decided to run for vice president in the May 9 polls.
She is the third vice president to be inaugurated outside Luzon. Reelected Vice President Sergio Osmeña was sworn to office on Corregidor Island during World War II on Dec. 30, 1941, while Vice President Noli de Castro took his oath in Cebu City on June 30, 2004.
Fulfill father’s promise
Malacañang on Sunday welcomed the inauguration of Sara as vice president.
“We are one with the whole Filipino nation in witnessing with excitement the inauguration ceremony of outgoing Mayor Duterte as the 15th Vice President. We once again express our deep gratitude to the Filipino people for the trust and support they have given to the vice president-elect,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the acting presidential spokesperson, said in a statement.
As Sara, who is also the incoming education secretary, took her oath on Sunday, a progressive teachers group urged her to fulfill the promises that her father failed to deliver.
Mr. Duterte vowed a substantial increase in teachers’ salaries during his presidential campaign in 2016.
But while the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has been calling for an entry-level salary of P30,000 for teachers, only the pay of cops and soldiers doubled to at least P29,668 compared to the teachers’ P23,877 monthly salary in 2021 under Mr. Duterte’s term.
ACT called on the next education chief for a significant increase in the salary of teachers and to “correct the distortion in the government salary scheme where teacher’s pay lag behind those of uniformed personnel and nurses.”
“She can also support the demands of teachers as well as other sectors to suspend the PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp.) premium increase,” Vladimer Quetua, ACT spokesperson, said in a statement.
The group also pointed out the ongoing educational crisis, which Sara could rectify through the safe reopening of schools and implementation of an evidence-based education recovery program.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
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Published : June 20, 2022
By : Philippine Daily Inquirer