US VP Harris, VP Duterte tackle education, security, jobs in meeting — OVP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — United States Vice President Kamala Harris met with her Philippine counterpart Sara Duterte for bilateral talks about education, security, and employment, among others, according to the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

During the vice presidents’ meeting on Monday, Duterte said she is looking forward to the institutionalization of the blended learning modality in the country.

Duterte also pointed out the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, emphasizing the learning deficits experienced particularly by younger students.

The OVP said Harris told Duterte that she was impressed by her work and responsibilities as both Education secretary and the country's second highest ranking official.

On national security, The OVP said Harris expressed that “the US strongly commits to backing the Philippines against forces that might attack the country.”

Duterte, meanwhile, shared that security and anti-terrorism are among her priorities. “Security is my first love,” she told Harris.

Duterte also reiterated President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s plan to bring down the country’s poverty rate to 9% before his term ends in 2028.

The poverty incidence in the country reached 18.1% in 2021, equivalent to19.99 million individuals unable to meet their basic food and non-food needs. 

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Harris and Duterte also talked about job creation through training programs, wherein Duterte mentioned the implementation of the K-12 program. She said the national government is working with the Technical Education And Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on skills training for senior high school students.