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Sara Duterte takes oath as Philippines' 15th Vice President

Sara Duterte, daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, took her oath as the 15th Vice President of the Philippines during a ceremony held on Sunday in Davao City, her hometown.

Sara ran for vice presidency with President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as her runningmate. With unity as the centerpiece of their campaign, the BBM-Sara tandem won in the recent Eleksyon 2022 with more than 30 million votes each.

She was sworn into office by Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando. Her mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman, held the Bible during her inauguration while her father, President Rodrigo Duterte was present on stage.

Prior to the inaugural ceremony, a Holy Mass, presided over by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, was held at the San Pedro Cathedral.

Future of hope

In her speech, Sara said the voice of those who voted for her was loud and clear, with the message to serve the Philippines.

"There is a God. A God whose will transcends the desires of our hearts, one whose will directs us to the way that we might not have imagined — but a way that consecrates ourselves every day to help our fellowmen overcome the difficulties they face in their lives, to change lives, to save lives," Sara said.

She stressed that if all would heed to the call to serve the nation, "the country will be heading toward a future of hope, security, strength, stability, and progress."

Sara also took time to acknowledge and honor the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, who celebrates his birthday today, June 19. She hoped that Rizal's memory "light up the fire within us to become patriots."

"Rizal taught us that selflessness and sacrifice could change our country's fate and shape our children's future. The bravery of Rizal completes the fabric of our identity as Filipinos," Sara said.

Helm of DepEd

Sara is set to lead the Department of Education (DepEd) under the Marcos administration wherein she promised "to work on producing skilled learners with the mindset to realize their full potential as individuals."

According to the Vice President-elect, she will look into the possibility of fully going back to face-to-face classes after more than a year of distance learning due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also said she wants the Office of the Vice President (OVP) to be housed in a permanent structure as this is the singular legacy that she wants to leave after her six year-term.

Among the key personalities who attended the inauguration were Marcos, Marcos' wife, Attorney Liza Araneta-Marcos, Sandro Marcos, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder and pastor Apollo Quiboloy, incoming Executive Secretary Attorney Vic Rodriguez, some ambassadors, senators and congressmen, governors, and her supporters from all walks of life.

Sara's family members, including husband Attorney Manases Carpio and sons Stingray and Stonefish, were present during the ceremony.

Family, future of children

Sara, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of a happy, loving, and strong family for the development and growth of a child amid a "very complex future, one that is rife with conflict and uncertainties."

"At home, parents have the duty to teach children the values of integrity, discipline, respect, and compassion for others," Sara said.

"And we should never forget that it is the duty of each Filipino family to emphasize that education begins at home," she added.

She said the Philippines could not afford to squander the future of the Filipino children.

"The days ahead of us may be full of challenges that call for us to be more united as a nation," Sara said.

"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 added.

Who is Sara?

Sara served as Davao City's first lady mayor and the youngest to have been elected to the position in the political history of the city after switching roles with her father in 2010 to 2013.

As city mayor, she initiated the "Byaheng DO30" program, which highlights the ten priority projects of her governance including peace and order, infrastructure development, transportation planning and traffic management, disaster risk reduction and mitigation, poverty alleviation, solid waste management, agriculture, health, education, and tourism.

The Vice President-elect is eyeing to expand some of her programs in Davao City to other parts of the country upon assuming post as the second highest official of the country.

A lawyer by profession, Sara served as a court attorney in the Supreme Court in 2006. Sara, an Army reservist, was also one of the nine elected governors of the Philippine Red Cross in 2014.—LDF, GMA News