Negros officials endorse Kiko for DepEd secretary 

Representatives Emilio Yulo III and Francisco Benitez (2nd and 3rd from left)  during the visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  to Bacolod  on Thursday, July 27.*Kiko Benitez FB page photo 

Negros Occidental  officials and a university president during the weekend joined those endorsing Rep. Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez to be the next secretary of education. 

The Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities and Philippine Business for Education also earlier endorsed Benitez. 

Benitez, who is the co-chairperson   of the Second Congressional Commission on Education, is former president of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) and has previously been a member of the  Board of Trustees of various associations of higher education and civic organizations. 

He was assistant professor at the University of Washington-Seattle and has taught various courses at Cornell University in New York, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Asia and the Pacific, and PWU. 

Benitez earned his masters and doctorate degrees in comparative literature minor in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.A. in comparative literature (summa cum laude) and English (cum laude) from Cornell University. 

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said he is endorsing Benitez because he has the experience and competence in the field of education.  

Rep. Emilio Yulo III (Neg. Occ., 5th District) said  he is endorsing Benitez  who  is highly qualified because apart from his legislative experience, he was part of the education sector prior to becoming congressman, as PWU president. 

“These experiences will bode well in managing the education department especially as he now has a grasp of the grassroots that can guide him how to better improve our education sector”, he said. 

University of Saint La Salle president Kenneth Martinez said Benitez would be “better than a regular politician who knows nothing of education, the education crisis demands a competent and reliable person in DepEd”. 

He said Benitez is competent because her has a doctorate degree from the United States and was former president of PWU. 

Bacolod City Rep. Greg Gasataya  said he definitely would endorse Benitez  for education  secretary. 

Benitez came from the academe prior to his being a member of Congress, he has a  track record,  the expertise and a continuing passion for Philippine education, Gasataya said. 

Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (Neg. Occ., 6th District) said she would endorse Benitez because “he has a very extensive background in education”. 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday said he was giving himself more time to select the successor of Vice President Sara Duterte as DepEd secretary. He initially said he would name the new education before the end of June. 

“It turns out it’s harder than I thought because we absolutely have to get it right. So, I’m giving myself more time,” Marcos said in an interview in Makati City. 

The  Philippine Business for Education has short-listed four nominees for  education secretary – Benitez,  Sen. Sonny Angara,   Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian and Milwida  Guevara of Synergeia Foundation.* 

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