By Stephanie Sevillano

MALAYSIA VISIT. Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte (center) expresses hope of collaborating with the government of Malaysia to push for her flagship projects as president of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education during an interview upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (Feb. 12, 2024). She said these projects include teachers’ education and learners’ protection. (Photo courtesy of Department of Education)

MANILA – Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte underscored the need to push for “flagship projects” for teachers and learners, among her agenda as president of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education (SEAMEO).

“We hope to work with the Malaysian government with regard to teacher education and learner’s protection and well-being. Iyan iyong mga agenda natin sa kanila (That’s are our agenda with them),” she said in an interview upon her arrival in Malaysia on Monday.

On Tuesday, Duterte is scheduled to attend courtesy calls with Malaysian Minister of Education Fadhlina Sidek and Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Fadillah Yusof.

She will also visit TROPMED School in the SEAMEO Center and Setapak Vocational College.

Established in 1965, SEAMEO is a regional intergovernmental organization to promote regional cooperation in education, science and culture in the region.

Good personal, work relationship

Meanwhile, Duterte, meanwhile, assured the public that she remains to have a good relationship with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“We have no problem with each other. President Bongbong Marcos and I are doing good. We are okay in terms of our relationship, both personal and work relationship,” she said.

She added they have not discussed the tirades of his father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, and his brother, Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, against the chief executive.

“Hindi pa kami nagka-usap ng pamilya ko. Wala, hindi naman nagtanong sa akin si Pangulong Marcos about sa sinabi ng aking kapatid at ng aking tatay (I haven’t talked to my family. None. President Marcos did not ask me anything about what my father and brother have said),” she said.

Duterte assured she will relay President Marcos’ “message of love” to Filipino workers in Malaysia.

 “Mensahe rin ng Pangulong Bongbong Marcos para sa ating mga OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) ay mensahe rin ng pagmamahal lalo na papalapit na ang Valentines’ Day. Ang kanyang pagmamahal sa kanila at kanyang hardwork para mapabuti ang ating bansa para makakita tayo ng isang bagong Pilipinas (The message of President Bongbong Marcos for our OFWs is also a message of love, especially with Valentine’s Day coming. His message of love and hardwork for the betterment of our country so we can see a new Philippines),” she added.

Duterte will have a dinner with Filipino community leaders in Malaysia on Tuesday night. (PNA)