Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte slammed Wednesday 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.
Speaking for the Duterte family, Paolo said his father never gives a “heck to any honorary degree simply because he knows he did not work hard for such a degree.”
“To the so-called learned individuals who frowned 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 in a statement Wednesday.
He, however, thanked the UP Board of Regents for considering giving his father a honorary doctorate degree.
Paolo reminded the people that the President “has always shied away from public recognition all 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 Davaoenos and now the Filipino nation, Paolo said.
Duterte is known to decline recognition for doing his job.
While he was mayor of Davao City, Duterte 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.
The President is not even 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, to President Duterte that sparked protest from some state scholars, particularly the UP Student Council. The giving of a honorary degree is 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. The motion was seconded by Regents Frederick Mikhail Farolan and Angelo Jimenez.
Farolan defended the move as “customary” and part of “tradition.”
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.
“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,” the younger Duterte said.
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. (PNA)
LILIAN C. MELLEJOR