Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte slammed critics who frowned on the decision of the University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents to grant President Rodrigo Duterte an honorary doctorate degree
Paolo in a statement, Wednesday said his father never gives a “heck with any honorary degree simply because he knows he did not work hard for such a degree”.
“To the so-called learned individuals who frown upon the plan of the University of the Philippines to grant an honorary doctorate degree to the President, you can have that honorary degree for all we care,” he said.
He however thanked the UP Board of Regents for considering his father. “Pero ok na akong papa as being the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
Paolo reminded the people that the President has always shied away from public recognitions al throughout his public life.
He has always been a simple man, satisfied with what he have and works hard to make a difference not just for his family but for the Dabawenyos and now the Filipino nation, Paolo said.
Duterte is known to decline recognitions for doing his job. While he was mayor of Davao City, Duterte already turned down awards like the “World Mayor”, a biennial award given by the City Mayor’s Foundation, the recognition in Singapore in 2010 for the successful implementation of the anti-smoking and an award from the American Cancer Society. He also said earlier, he is not enthusiastic about surveys showing him in the lead.
This year, Duterte however received the highest award given to him by the Knights of Rizal. He said that at least he has one, as President.
On Wednesday, the University of the Philippines highest policy making body offered a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, degree to Duterte that sparked protest from some state scholars, particularly the UP Student Council. Giving of the honorary degree is however part of UP’s tradition to Philippine presidents.
That would make Duterte the 14th president to be conferred with the degree, which was also conferred to former Presidents Benigno Aquino III in 2011; Fidel Ramos in 1993 and Corazon Aquino in 1986.
The decision was reportedly reached during the 1,326th meeting of the UP Board of Regents on April 5, when Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero moved to confer the honorary degree to Duterte and other officials. This was also seconded by Regents Frederick Mikhail Farolan and Angelo Jimenez.
Farolan defended the move as “customary” and part of “tradition.”
Earlier, UP Student Regent Raoul Manuel said Duterte does not deserve the honorary Doctor of Laws in view of the extrajudicial killings attributed to him.
Manuel urged the UP Administration to reconsider its plan considering that Duterte has yet to prove himself and fulfill his promise to the Filipino people.
In defense to his father, Paolo said being elected as president is enough recognition. “No other recognition or honorary degrees could eclipse that,” he said.
Paolo said, “Growing up, we were taught by our father of the value of education. That is why we really strive hard to get a degree no matter what.”
But aside from getting a degree, Paolo said their father also inculcated to them that knowledge and wisdom must go hand in hand with the degree.
“Meaning, whatever level of education we achieve, the level of knowledge and wisdom we gain must also be at par or even higher,” he said. Ayan C. Mellejor and Lovely Carillo