UP confers honorary degree on Sen. Mark Villar

An honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred by the University of the Philippines (UP) on Senator Mark A. Villar in a ceremony on Friday, Jan. 27.

Courtesy of the University of the Philippines

"Today, I stand before you all, truly humbled and privileged as I accept this great honor bestowed upon me. One of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon someone, from one of the most prestigious institutions in the World. I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the University of the Philippines," said Villar in his acceptance speech.

The Honoris Causa was given to Villar for his "valuable contribution to the country and to the UP community" and for his accomplishment as the former secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) where he led the Golden Age of Infrastructure, said UP.

UP noted that the senator also paved the way for the construction and rehabilitation of various facilities within UP campuses.

Villar dedicated the award to those who "guided, helped, and sometimes carried me in this journey."

"It’s an honor to serve as a vessel for the dreams of so many Filipinos who dream for a better tomorrow and yearn for a country where we can all achieve the high quality of life that all Filipinos deserve," he said.

"I realized that this award is not just for me, it is for all of those who have guided and supported me throughout my life and to all those who worked tirelessly to accomplish the goals of the Build Build Build Program," he continued.

The conferment ceremony was attended by members of the UP Board of Regents, officials of the UP College of Law and UP System, DPWH officials, and the Villar family.

UP student regent opposed honorary degree conferment to Villar

On Jan. 23, the UP Office of the Student Regent released a statement opposing the honorary degree conferment to the younger Villar.

"Several issues of land-grabbing and development aggression hound their family's reputation and his stint as the Secretary of DPWH exacerbated these key issues. A conferment of honorary degree to him seemingly puts all these issues under the rug," the student regent said.

Senator Cynthia Villar, during a press briefing on Jan. 25, defended that his son was given the award due to his contributions to UP.

"I think he was given that because he helped UP a lot," she said.

"The moral of the story, you help UP a lot," she added.

Honoris Causa is a doctorate degree given to individuals who exhibited outstanding achievements in their respective fields and provided exemplary service to their fellowmen.

Last June 2018, she also received an honorary degree from UP Los Baños for her contributions to the field of agricultural development, education, and poverty alleviation, among others.