By Stephanie Sevillano

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte expressed elation Monday as the agency emerged most trusted in the recent Octa Research’s Tugon ng Masa survey.

“Masaya ako as secretary ng Department of Education na mayroong ang appreciation ang mga kababayan natin sa ginagawang trabaho ng ating mga frontliners (As DepEd Secretary, I’m happy that our fellow Filipinos appreciate the work of our frontliners),” Duterte said in a radio interview.

She attributed the agency’s performance to the “hardworking teachers inspiring learners” on the ground.

Duterte also cited the impact of reforms being pushed under the Marcos administration amid learning gap challenges.

“Masaya rin ako dahil mayroong epekto po yung kampanya ng ating gobyerno para sa isang Bagong Pilipinas na iyong ating mga kabataan ay educated (I’m also happy because the government’s campaign for the New Philippines is taking effect, for our youth to be educated),” she added.

Based on the survey for the fourth quarter of 2023 released Feb. 22, DepEd earned the highest trust rating among government agencies at 84 percent, closely followed by the Commission on Higher Education at 83 percent.

Agri harvest in schools

Duterte, meanwhile, said agricultural products planted within school premises in select areas may be harvested soon.

“Sa mga susunod na buwan, ipapakita na po namin sa inyo iyong harvest na po ng mga tanim (In the next coming months, we will show you our harvest),” she said, referring to the Pampaaralang Taniman ng mga Agribida (PTA) program.

Under the PTA, income-generating school gardens were established alongside agricultural busineses.

She said the program aims to either provide monetary augmentation to the parents-teachers associations or supplement the school’s trust fund or maintenance and other operating expenses.

“Mayroon tayong school sites na six, seven, eight hectares pero ang nagagamit lang po nun sa paaralan ay less than one hectare, so nakikita ko idle lands ‘yung ibang area (We have school sites with six to eight hectares but the school only utilizes less than one hectare, so they are idle lands),” Duterte said.

The PTA program was launched following DepEd’s memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc. in 2023.

To date, select schools in Western Visayas and Caraga Region are rolling out the program. (PNA)