MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed a bill that would designate the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) as a national university, saying the performance of its satellite campuses and extension programs needs to be evaluated.
Under the measure approved by Congress, PUP would be given the same status as the University of the Philippines and Mindanao State University, public tertiary schools that enjoy fiscal autonomy.
National universities are also allowed to craft their own academic program provided that they would still consult with the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
"I have serious reservations on the sustainability of the means chosen to attain this end," Duterte said in his veto message dated September 4 but released to the media Saturday.
"Its proposed designation as national polytechnic university needs to be reassessed in light of its current performance ranking among other SUCs," he said.
"The comparative performance of its satellite campuses and extension programs needs to be similarly evaluated before granting the PUP system as a whole such a privileged status," he said, referring to the university's 20 other branches.
Granting fiscal autonomy to the PUP would "also have a significant fiscal impact on the government," Duterte said.
In October last year, PUP was among state and private universities the military tagged as among schools where the communist movement was allegedly recruiting members to back a supposed plot to oust the President.
A 2016 study showed that PUP graduates were the top choice of employers in the Philippines because its alumni tend to be "very hard-working, often going the extra mile in their job."
The Manila-based university did not land a spot in the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings, an annual study that ranks the top performing universities in the world.
State-run University of the Philippines was the top school in the country and was ranked 72nd in Asia, while Mindanao State University landed on the 451-500 bracket.