Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones’s statement on her confirmation

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Time and again, the mission is clear: To ensure that the biggest share of resources allotted by the government is well-accounted for, and that the needs and expectations of learners and personnel are delivered in a timely fashion. Otherwise, we do a disservice to the Filipino people.

To achieve our vision to provide quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all, we recognize the earnest wisdom and firm integrity of the Commission on Appointments to confirm our capacity to lead and make the largest Department work for the people.

Determining the competence and integrity of Cabinet appointees is a task that can only be undertaken with great care, scrutiny, and prudence. The CA Standing Committee on Education, Culture and Sports, headed by its chairperson Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino and vice chairperson Rep. Rosenda Ann Ocampo, has performed its mandate judiciously, and we would like to express our gratitude for the panel’s favorable decision.

Thank you to all the officers and members of the Commission, led by chairperson Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and vice chairperson Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, for granting us the opportunity to work harder and better so that our 25 million learners and more than 700,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel are able to achieve their needs and aspirations.

We would like to convey our appreciation to Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who moved for my confirmation to the plenary; to Senators Ralph Recto, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, who seconded the motion; to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), who also endorsed my confirmation. Our gratitude also extends to the many individuals in and out of the government who expressed support for my confirmation – your trust and confidence in us will not be for naught.

The period of celebration is not a time to rest, but a chance to push forth with the reforms that we have already started. With the steadfast support and cooperation of the DepEd Executive Committee, we will continue the best practices established during the previous administration and the number of reforms we have introduced in finance management and budget utilization to better fulfill our mandates.

These fiscal reforms merely constitute the bigger endeavor in raising the quality of basic education, while making the Department an agency that practices full transparency and proficiency. To achieve this, we intend to keep consistent with the rest of our 10-Point Agenda: Full implementation of K to 12; Enrichment of the curricula to strengthen the drug education, gender and development, and environmental awareness and disaster preparedness components of learning; Expansion of the Alternative Learning System; Increasing school feeding programs; Enriching curricular and non-curricular programs; Fostering critical thinking and appreciation of culture and arts; Expand the scope of employee welfare; Implement active, transparent, consultative, and corruption-free leadership; and Expand cooperation with private sector and communities.

At the end of our term in 2022, we hope to be able to look back with fulfillment that the setbacks we faced have become the building blocks that made our successes sturdy. In that not so distant future, a modern, professional, pro-active, nimble, trusted, and nurturing DepEd will have produced nation-loving and competent learners capable to respond to challenges and opportunities of the global community.

The biggest challenge remains: To provide quality education for all Filipinos. Each of us – from the non-teaching personnel to mentors; from the field to the Central Office; from DepEd to the powerful Commission on Appointments – bears this responsibility. As ready as I am to prove my capacity and tenacity to the esteemed members of this august Appointment body, I am prepared to fulfill my mandate as Secretary of the Department of Education with utmost sincerity, accountability, and unflinching determination.