UP to give Duterte honorary doctorate degree in Law, plan receives strong opposition

  • The University of the Philippines plans to give President Rodrigo Duterte a doctorate degree in Law
  • Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said this is part of tradition
  • The plan has met strong opposition from the student and alumni community of the state university

The University of the Philippines will be bestowing President Rodrigo Duterte with a doctorate degree in Law.

Inquirer said in a story published April 18 that the UP Board of Regents (BOR) will be giving this to the President as a tradition. Every Philippine President is granted this degree during their first year in office.

“In keeping with tradition, UP is conferring an honorary doctorate on the President. President Duterte has yet to accept,” the story quoted Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan’s confirmation.

According to another story by ABS-CBN, the conferment was among the listed matters approved by the BOR in a memorandum released this month.

But UP Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Dalisay Jr. said that “no official communication” has been sent to Malacañang regarding the conferment.

The awarding of the Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, degree was met with opposition from students and graduates of the premiere state university. This is due to the controversial spate of extrajudicial killings in the country attributed to Duterte’s war against drugs.

In a statement, UP Student Regent Daniel Manuel expressed his strong stance against the plan.

“Honors must not be given to a president that declares all-out war against his people to quell their struggle for just and lasting peace, and reimposes death penalty to legitimize the killing of the poor,” said Manuel.

“The Office of the Student Regent calls upon the UP Administration to stop its plan. Let us fight for a university of the people: a university that serves as social critic and defender of the oppressed,” he added.

Other members of the UP community took to Facebook their sentiments about the planned conferment.

Students and graduates have been posting on social media a template rally message about it which read:

“By giving honor to a man who challenges basic human decency, discourages public dissent, promotes a culture of impunity, and lauds extra-judicial killings, UP has taken a major step backward in upholding Honor and Excellence.”