‘I never finished my education’, says Agriculture Secretary Laurel
MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said on Monday said he did not finish school to raise his eldest child, following reports debunking an online biography claiming that he graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
“Let me clear the air about my educational background, given news reports that claim I am an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas or any other institution of higher learning. That is not true,” Laurel said in a statement on Monday.
“I never finished my education because I became a father at 19. I needed to work to support my eldest child. My father impressed upon me that my responsibility as a father comes first.”
Laurel issued the statement after The Varsitarian — the official student publication of UST – released a report saying that he did not graduate and pursue undergraduate studies at the university, according to the Office of the Registrar.
“Like many, I dreamt of wearing a toga and receiving a diploma. But that wasn’t meant to be,” Laurel said.
“The sea became my university, experiences in life taught me the value of perseverance. My children gave me the courage and inspiration to get to where I am now.”
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appointed Laurel as head the Department of Agriculture chief last Nov. 3. Before that, Laurel was president of Frabelle Fishing Corp., a fishing company based in Navotas.
Based on previous reports, he also held positions in Gravelle Shipyard Corp., Frabelle Properties Corp., Markham Resources Corp., Bacoor Seafront Development Corp., and Bukidnon Hydro Energy Corp.