EDITORIAL: Time and UP

President Duterte came home from his Middle East trip with billions in investment portfolio and he topped the 2017 Time 100 poll of the prestigious Time Magazine. All in a week’s span.

But when the University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents unanimously passed a decision to confer honorary degree to the much-maligned chief executive, its community reacted to an uproar of disapproval.

It has always been this case. No matter what positive comes out of the Duterte administration, there will always be a ‘next paragraph’ that will mention extrajudicial killings and bloody antidrug war.

Duterte won the Time poll after consistently leading the survey, which asked readers who should be included on this year’s TIME 100 — an annual list of the world’s most influential people.

Duterte received 5% of the total “yes” votes in the poll, which closed last Sunday night. Duterte outpolled Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pope Francis, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — who all received 3% of the total “yes” votes.

Previous poll winners were Bernie Sanders won the reader poll in 2016 while Russian President Vladimir Putin took it in 2015.

A day after that Time victory, then came the loud dissent from the UP community after the Board of Regents (BOR) came down with a resolution to confer an honorary degree to President Duterte. The outrage and disapproval reportedly came from students, faculty and alumni over the decision.

President Duterte need not accept the honorary degree. In fact, he should not. Duterte actually does not need the honorary degree. He has a Law degree from the country’s presumably best Law School, San Beda, and should be happy at his personal achievements albeit he is never one to be in a celebratory, self-agridizement mode everytime he does something good for the people.

As for the UP community, it is their right to express their disapproval if they think the man is not worthy. Nevertheless, it must be done in a manner that does not reek with arrogance and false pride.

For all its worth, UP can keep that honorary degree, which had been an almost “costumary” gesture extended to the President of the republic–UP being itself a state-owned educational institution. It is one not in the same level of honor and excellence as bringing billions of investments home or being the most influential person in the planet.

So why all the fuss? UP can keep its honorary degree for itself as an institution that is funded by people’s money out of the taxes paid to the government. And yes, some of these people do not necessarily agree with the UP community’s dissent but they respect that.

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