UP gets 1st half of P40-M donation to rename college after Marcos PM
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2014 - 4:40pm

MANILA, Philippines - The University of the Philippines (UP) has received the first half of the P40-million pledge of an official as a condition to rename the College of Business Administration (CBA) after the prime minister of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In a press release on Monday, the university said President Alfredo Pascual received on August 13 the P20-million donation from regent Magdaleno Albarracin and his family.

The donation is for the establishment of a faculty development and research endowment fund to benefit of what is now known as the Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business in UP Diliman.

Pascual, according to the release, dubbed Albarracin as a “loyal and ever supportive son of UP.”

The regent, meanwhile, dedicated the donation to Virata and said that it was through his leadership as former dean of the college that he and other faculty members were able to obtain their graduate degrees abroad.

Albarracin said the endowment fund can be used to augment the costs of sending faculty to pursue doctoral and post-doctoral studies and of recruiting faculty with doctorate degree.

It would also be used to support research programs and projects related to UP’s academic agenda, he added.

Controversy

Based on the minutes of the June 30, 2013 meeting of the Board of Regents, the donation was a condition set for the renaming of the CBA after Virata, former finance and prime minister of Marcos.

The decision allowing the changing of the name, approved in April 2013 and re-affirmed earlier this year, was questioned by different sectors of the UP community.

A Change.org petition, signed by over 900 people, noted that Virata’s “role as the finance minister and prime minister under the martial rule of (Marcos) makes him a leading accomplice during the years of autocratic rule in the country.”

“Such honor given to a top technocrat of the Marcos dictatorship brings dishonor to the 72 UP martyrs who offered their lives fighting the Marcos dictatorship,” read the petition.

It noted that the university has violated its own naming policy, “which does not include the renaming of academic units such as the College of Business Administration.”

The petition said the university’s naming policy set that the person to be honored “must have exceptional or exemplary achievement” and that he or she “must have sterling reputation or could be looked upon as a role model of the youth.”

“It is obvious that Virata’s reputation as a loyal technocrat of the Marcos authoritarian role is far from sterling and he cannot be foisted as ‘a role model of the youth,’” read the petition.

Despite calls for the board to rescind the approval, the regents affirmed its earlier decision and gave the go signal to change the name of the academic unit after Virata.

Who is Virata?

An article at the UP alumni website said “Virata is respected as a professional manager by the business community in the Philippines and in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. His career can be an inspiration to aspiring managers and it is fitting that the business school of the University of the Philippines should carry his name.”

He was the fifth dean of the college from 1960 to 1967, and graduated from the university with degrees in business administration and mechanical engineering in 1952.

He finished his Master of Business Administration major in Industrial Management from the Wharton Graduate School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1953, and received the Doctor of Laws degree (honoris causa) from UP in 1976.

He is included in the list of 125 illustrious Wharton alumni during the 125th anniversary of the Wharton School of Finance in 2007, read the article.

In a two-part feature written for The STAR by National Artist F. Sionil Jose in 2011, Virata was asked how would he rationalize serving Marcos, who is perceived to have plundered the country.

“I was at the UP when President Marcos designated me to hold positions in government. I considered it a duty to serve our government and our people so I performed my assignments as best as I could,” said Virata.

“I also believed that I could contribute to reform and better government programs and in leadership by example, that is why I was brave enough to punish/dismiss officials in government if I found them accepting bribes. In fairness, President Marcos did not force me to do what I considered to be wrong, otherwise I would have resigned,” he added.

Sionil Jose wrote that Virata has asked the Department of Justice at the time to respond to claims of human rights violations.

“But these were not on his turf and even when he became prime minister, peace and order were not his primary responsibility. On occasion, he had reminded the dictator that economic development depended so much on the stability, the security of the country,” wrote the National Artist.

“Virata gave the state the best of his ability at tremendous risk to himself, and to his family. Not many people know of his heroic act, that in the years that he was in government he fired over 5,000 erring bureaucrats and for this, he was threatened,” added Sionil Jose.

The feature likewise revealed that former First Lady Imelda Marcos was an opponent of Virata.

"She wanted to use public funds for her projects. I did not permit that," Virata was quoted as saying.

A CHANGE ALBARRACIN ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS BOARD OF REGENTS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION MARCOS PRESIDENT MARCOS SIONIL JOSE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES VIRATA
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