UMak on Pacquiao’s degree: He met all requirements
MANILA, Philippines — An official of the University of Makati (UMak) has defended the school from accusations of being a “diploma mill,” saying boxing champ turned Sen. Manny Pacquiao rightfully earned his political science degree with a specialization on local government administration.
“He attended his classes; he submitted all the requirements so it is just right for him to earn his degree,” UMak vice president for academic affairs Elxyzur Ramos told the Inquirer in an interview. “If people still have doubts and questions, they can always come here and check our records.”
Ramos said that Pacquiao first came to UMak as a student in August 2018, contrary to reports that he enrolled only in September in the university ran by the Makati City government.
Ramos also clarified that the senator did not get his degree through the Expanded Tertiary Education and Accreditation Program (Eteeap), an alternative education program offered by the Commission on Higher Education.
UMak equivalency program
Rather, he was enrolled under UMak’s own equivalency program for professionals patterned after Eteeap in partnership with the Philippine Councilors League-Legislative Academy.
Eteeap recognizes, accredits and gives equivalencies to knowledge, skills, attitudes and values gained by individuals from relevant work.
The program is implemented through deputized higher education institutions that award the appropriate college degree.
While some netizens reacted positively to news about Pacquiao’s degree, many questioned how he found the time to study, given his supposedly very tight schedule as a senator and boxer.
“At first, we were a bit hesitant to allow him to enroll, because we were doubtful if he could attend classes. But he gave his commitment and he delivered,” Ramos said.
To earn his degree, Pacquiao had to complete 10 modules for the different clusters of subjects. Ramos said that it usually took a month for a student to finish each module while the senator completed all 10 modules in 16 months.
“The program has its rigors. It is not for everyone,” Ramos said, sharing that the senator almost failed to graduate after nearly missing an important class.
A professor called Pacquiao, who was then in Japan doing a promo tour for a mixed martial arts group.
“The professor told him if he [would not] be able to attend their two-day class, he [would be] considered dropped. So right away, Pacquiao flew back to the country,” he said.
As for allegations that Pacquiao paid for his degree, Ramos said, “UMak is not a for-profit institution. The local government of Makati which runs UMak is already the richest city in the country. We don’t need money as we are greatly provided for.”
He added that in 2018, the university had a budget of P1 billion, way higher than that of other state-funded colleges and universities.
Pacquiao passed a high school equivalency exam in 2007 under the alternative learning system of the Department of Education, making him eligible to pursue college.
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