MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the reported plan of the University of the Philippines to confer an honorary degree on President Rodrigo Duterte, but said the president is not running after it.
“Although he doesn’t run after awards, it would be a sign of goodwill from the premier institution. It’s quite an honor to receive that,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a news briefing.
UP Board of Regents (BOR) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan that UP will confer an honorary degree or honoris causa on Duterte, “in keeping with tradition.”
The report triggered an outcry among critics of the Duterte administration who said the president does not deserve the honorary degree because of the killings related to the bloody war on drugs.
According to Abella, the Office of the President has yet to receive the reported offer of honorary degree.
In a statement, Student Regent Raoul Danniel Manuel said Duterte does not deserve the UP Board of Regents’ (BOR) traditional offer of an honorary Doctor of Laws, because of alleged extrajudicial killings amid the administration's war on drugs, and the firebrand leader’s call for the return of the death penalty.
“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.
Duterte has also yet to prove himself, the student regent said, and many of his promises to the Filipino people remain unfulfilled.
“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,” Manuel said.
Protests for the conferring of the honoris causa are set on Wednesday near the Philippine Coconut Authority’s office in Quezon City, just outside the Diliman campus of UP.