Speaker: Up to Harvard to discuss reported donation

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Speaker: Up to Harvard to discuss reported donation
A view of the campus of Harvard University on July 8, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Getty Images via AFP / Maddie Meyer

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez is leaving it up to Harvard University to discuss reports that he had donated $2 million, saying the school has a policy with regard to such arrangements.

“In light of recent speculations regarding my alleged donation to Harvard University, I choose to respect the institution’s gift policy. Harvard has already communicated that they ‘do not discuss the terms or specifics of individual gifts,’ and I stand by that principle,” Romualdez said.

Nevertheless, he underscored the importance of having a Filipino language course in such a highly prestigious international education institution.

“I’d like to redirect our attention to the significant milestone achieved – the introduction of the Filipino language course at Harvard. This is a remarkable acknowledgment of our culture and heritage on a global platform,” the Speaker said in a statement, noting that their “focus should be on celebrating this achievement, according to Harvard Undergraduate Philippine Forum co-president Jose Marco Antonio II.

“I firmly believe in promoting and preserving our Filipino identity, and this step by Harvard is a testament to that effort. Let’s embrace this moment of pride and unity for our country and our language,” he added.

Being a first cousin of President Marcos, Romualdez has been criticized by opposition leaders, martial law victims and critics of the Marcos family for allegedly donating $2 million – roughly P112 million – and for being silent on such an endeavor.

Two US-based news organizations – FilAm magazine and school organ Harvard Crimson – have reported about the donation. The latter wrote that $1 million was needed for three preceptors in Filipino, Bahasa Indonesian and Thai.

This, however, only pushed through when Romualdez made the $2-million pledge for the preceptor to last more than three years.

In April, the Speaker declared in a press statement expressing “full support” for the creation of the new Tagalog language course, after he delivered a policy speech at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“Our language is our pride. And learning about Harvard’s new Tagalog language course, I am expressing my full support for the program. I hope and pray that the Harvard Tagalog course will flourish and grow in the future to include many aspects of Filipino culture,” Romualdez said.

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