PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, April 19 said he will not accept the University of the Philippines’ (UP) offer to confer an honorary doctorate degree on him.
During a press briefing in Bohol, Duterte said that it has been part of his personal policy to not accept recognitions.
“I simply decline,” he told reporters, adding, “With due respect to the University of the Philippines, I do not accept even when I was mayor. As a matter of personal and official policy, I do not accept awards.”
The UP Board of Regents (BOR), the university’s highest policy-making body, earlier said it plans to offer the president a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, as part of its tradition.
But reports of the award sparked outrage among Duterte’s critics. Many expressed their frustrations through social media, using the viral hashtag #DuterteNotWorthy.
In a Facebook post, the UP Office of the Student Regent expressed its opposition to the planned award.
“The UP Office of the Student Regent condemns the plan of the UP Administration to confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte,” it said. “We must not turn a blind eye to the deeds of the current regime by giving it such recognition.”
Citing his controversial campaign against illegal drugs in particular, the UP Office of the Student Regent argued that Duterte does not deserve the honors and should instead be held accountable for the alleged summary killings.
“Honors are not deserved by a president whose regime killed thousands of citizens and leaders of progressive groups under Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Kapayapaan,” the group’s statement stressed.
In 2011, then president Benigno Aquino III accepted the same offer but was met with protests.
The university also offered honorary degrees to former Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but like Duterte, they declined to accept the recognitions. n