School that awarded Daniel Matsunaga’s ‘honoris causa’ not registered with CHED

September 13, 2018 - 4:37 PM
Daniel Matsunaga was conferred with the honorary doctorate degree from a school that is not authorized by Commission on Higher Education. (Interaksyon/ File photo)

The school that awarded Daniel Matsunaga the prestigious honoris causa or honorary doctorate degree is not authorized to operate in the country, The Commission on Higher Education said in a statement.

CHED stated that Brethren Evangelical School of Theology (BEST) in Gapan, Nueva Ecija is not in its updated list of accredited Higher Education Institutions, thus voiding Matsunaga’s award.

“The public is hereby advised that the awarding of an honorary doctorate degree or honoris causa by Brethren Evangelical School of Technology to any person will not be recognized by the Commission on Higher Education,” it said.

Press Release September 11, 2018CHED: BEST has no authority to grant honoris causaThe Commission on Higher…

Posted by PhCHED on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

All higher education institutions with a permit from CHED are listed in its website per region. A quick search reveals that BEST is not in it.

Matsunaga previously expressed his excitement on Instagram for being given the recognition on September 8.

“I am very honored to be the recipient of such an amazing award. I just want to thank God for everything He has done in my life…also to the executives for believing and trusting me with such a big award,” the Japanese-Brazilian host said.

Matsunaga was given the honorary doctorate degree in Humanities Major in Social Work.

Days after, CHED clarified that BEST had no authority to grant honorary degrees to any individual.

“CHED shall impose the necessary sanctions against BEST in relation to the offering of degree programs upon compliance with due process of law,” the agency said.

As of writing, Matsunaga’s post can still be viewed; however, the BEST’s official Facebook page had since been deleted. Both parties have not yet responded to CHED’s statement.

What is the honoris causa in the Philippines?

Not all higher education institutions can award an honoris causa.

The requirements for the institution is stated on CHED memorandum order no. 19 series of 2014, wherein:

  1. Must have existed as a higher education institution for a period of at least 25 years,
  2. Must have well-acknowledged academic reputation and institutional values and mission as adjudged by the CHED.

Only private HEI’s with “autonomous or deregulated status” and state universities and colleges with “Level III” status are allowed to confer honorary doctorate degrees without CHED approval.

CHED defines honoris causa, the Latin translation for “for the sake of the honor,” as an “extraordinary academic degree” bestowed to individuals with “meritorious contributions” to a particular discipline.

There are eight main disciplines or fields of study for it—fine arts, humanities, laws, literature, pedagogy, public administration, science and technology.

However, recipients should neither be connected to the awarding institution nor to CHED.

There had been a number of personalities and government officials given the honoris causa in recent years, among them:

  1. Vice President Leni Robredo (University of Saint Anthony in San Miguel, Iriga City in Camarines Sur)
  2. Late former Senator Edgardo Angara (University of the Philippines)
  3. Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino Chief Virgilio Almario (University of the East)
  4. National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera (University of the Cordilleras)

President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to receive one from the University of the Philippines in 2017 but he declined the offer due to “personal and official policy.”