During the celebration of the 2023 Pambansang Araw ng Pagbasa at the Esteban Abada Elementary School in Quezon City, Duterte said she wanted to write a story which she could share and read to students herself.
The result is the book, “Isang Kaibigan (A Friend)”, that tells the story of an owl who lost his bird friends when a storm damaged his home. Amid his desolation, a friendly parrot offered to help the owl rebuild his nest, proving that true friends never leave in times of need.
“Merong isang ibon at marami siyang kaibigan. Merong nangyaring unos sa buhay niya at nawala lahat ng mga kaibigan niya. Akala niya nawala lahat pero merong isa na bumalik at tumulong sa kanya. ‘Yun ang lesson doon sa libro—’yung friendship and kindness,” Duterte said.(There is a bird that has many friends. But he experienced a trial in his life and he lost all his friends. The bird thought he lost everyone but another bird came back to help him. That's the lesson in the book—friendship and kindness.)
The Education head also thanked the Filipino youth, who she said inspired her to write the book.
The book's author bio has the vice president's photo and her office's seal. It reads: "Kilalanin si Inday Sara Duterte: Si Inday Sara ang ika-labinlimang Pangalawang Pangulo ng Pilipinas at Kalihim ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon. Siya rin ay naging Alkalde ng Lungsod ng Davao. Siya ay isang tunay na kaibigan."
("Let's know Inday Sara Duterte. Inday Sara is the 15th VIce President of the Philippines and the Secretary of the Department of Education. She was a mayor of Davao City. She is a true friend.")
Duterte also reminded the learners of the power that lies within the simple act of reading.
“Sa pamamagitan ng pagbabasa, maaari kayong mabuhay sa mundo kung saan makakayanan ninyong abutin ang inyong mga pangarap. Ang pagbabasa ang susi na magbubukas ng mga kahanga hangang bagay para sa bawat isa sa inyo. Sa pamamagitan ng mga aklat, maaari kayong maglakbay sa mga malalayong lugar, makilala ang mga kahanga-hangang karakter, at matuto tungkol sa iba’t ibang kultura at mga ideya,” she said.
(Through reading, you can live in a world where you can achieve your dreams. Reading is the key that will unlock wonderful things for each and everyone of you. Through books, you can travel to faraway places, meet wonderful characters, and learn about different cultures and ideas.)
“Ang pagbabasa ay nagpapalago ng inyong imahinasyon, nagpapalawak sa inyong kaalaman, at nagbibigay sa inyo ng kakayahan na makita ang mas malawak na posibilidad sa gitna ng inyong mga limitasyon,” she added.
(Reading will expand your imagination and your knowledge, and will give you the ability to see greater possibilities despite your limitations.)
Duterte announced during the same event that starting January 12, 2024, the Department of Education (DepEd) will be allotting every Friday as a “catch-up” day in schools, particularly to help students to read and comprehend better.
During these “catch-up Fridays”, the DepEd chief said all learners from kindergarten to Grade 12 shall use the time to read books, articles, and other reading materials based on their interests, and be tasked to write books, essays, as well as book reviews and analyses.
Aside from reading, the Fridays will also be set to catch-up on the values, health, and peace education of the learners.—RF, GMA Integrated News