Sara takes oath; calls for unity to overcome challenges confronting children 

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 June) — Outgoing mayor Sara Duterte, who took her oath as the country’s 15th Vice President on Sunday, highlighted the challenges confronting Filipino children and called for unity to overcome these.

In her 11-minute speech delivered, Duterte, who will assume the post of Vice President and Education Secretary on June 30, acknowledged that the children are faced with a complex future filled with conflict and uncertainties.

She said some of these challenges include the winding cycle of poverty, the trauma of broken families, the life-long baggage because of irresponsible and bad parenting, the abandonment issues due to an absentee parent, the anguish of gender confusion and discrimination, the destruction brought about by drugs, and the lure of easy money in criminality.

Sara Duterte, 15th Vice President of the Philippines, with parents Elizabeth Zimmerman and President Rodrigo Duterte. Supreme court Justice Ramon Paul Hernando administered her in Davao City on 19 June 2022. MIndaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Sara is the second of three children of outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Elizabeth Zimmerman. The couple’s marriage was annulled in 2000. The President has another daughter with his partner, Honeylet Avancena. 

Sara cited pressing issues such as increasing cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted diseases among minors, and the failure to identify and speak up against different kinds of abuses, and the life altering effects of teenage pregnancy.

She also highlighted the detrimental effects of illiteracy, the emotional injury of bullying, unstable mental wellness, recruitment to support terrorism, and misinformation in the internet.

Vice President-elect Sara Duterte takes her oath of office administered by Supreme court Justice Ramon Paul Hernando in Davao City on 19 June 2022. Sara Duterte is accompanied by her mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman, and father, Rodrigo Duterte, who will step down as President on June 30, on the same day his daughter will assume the post as the country’s 15th Vice President. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Addressing parents, she said they have a duty to teach their children the “values of integrity, discipline, respect, and compassion for others,” emphasizing that a strong, loving, happy family sets down all the basic foundations essential in the development and growth of a child.

Sara said education begins at home and Filipino families should not allow their children’s future to be squandered.

“Atong isilsil sa ilang alimpatakan nga ang maayong pamatasan, ang edukasyon, ug pagpaningkamot maoy magdala kanila palayo sa kinabuhi nga puno og kalisod, padulong sa maayong kinabuhi nga ilang gihandom (We should inculcate in their minds that good values, education, and hard work are the ones that will keep them away from a life filled with difficulties, and will lead them instead to a good life that they all wish to have),” she said.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando administered the oath taking of Duterte as 15th Vice President at 5:13 p.m. 

Davao City Police Office estimated the crowd at around 20,000. 

Joining Mayor Duterte on stage as she took her oath were her parents.

President Rodrigo Duterte watches as daughter Sara hugs her mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman after she took her oath as the country’s 15th President on Sunday, 19 June 2022 in Davao City. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Sara Duterte, the country’s 15th Vice President does the traditional “Mano po” on her father, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte after her oath-taking on Sunday, 19 June 2022, also Father’s Day. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Sr., former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were among those who witnessed the event. 

Also present were Sara’s husband Atty. Manases Carpio and their children Mikhaila María, nicknamed “Sharky,” and two sons, Mateo Lucas, nicknamed “Stingray”, and Marko Digong, nicknamed “Stonefish.” 

Sara’s youngest brother, Sebastian, the incoming mayor, also graced the event but eldest brother Paolo, who has been reelected as representative of the 1st congressional district was not around. 

Also present were Senators Imee Marcos, Bong Go, Ronald dela Rosa and Bong Revilla. 

Sara said one of the most important lessons she learned in life is “we should commit to heart the priorities of God, country, and family.”

The country’s 15th Vice President carries her youngest son, Marko Digong (Stonefish) after her oath-taking at the San Pedro Square on Sunday, 19 June 2022. (L to R) Sara’s husband Manases Carpio, daughter Mikhaila Maria (Sharky), Mateo Lucas (Stingray), mom Elizabeth, Sebastian Duterte’s daughter Bella and President Rodrigo Duterte. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

“My life is a testament to the power of a God, whom we know by many names. My younger self was consumed by a dream to become a doctor. I pursued a pathway that I thought could help me realize that dream, but I was directed toward another way. And now I am a lawyer,” she said.

She added that she has committed herself to governance and public service although her commitment to complete three consecutive terms as mayor of this city can no longer be fulfilled after she was elected as vice president. 

Sara is ending her third term as mayor on June 30. She served as OIC Vice Mayor from 2007 to 2010, Mayor from 2010 to 2013, 2016 to 2019 and 2019 to 2022.  (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)