By Alliah Czarielle Relayson Guerra and Bryan Ezra Gonzales
Business Administration students have launched a campaign against the naming of their college after Cesar EA Virata, a known Marcos crony.
The campaign, titled “One CBA,” began with a college-wide protest on February 11. A university-wide protest is set on February 18.
Fenina de Leon, College Representative to the University Student Council, cited the insufficient student consultation and “historical ignorance” for the student body’s opposition.
“Aside from the insufficient student consultation, there is also the idea of historical ignorance that by naming our college after a prominent Marcos crony, we are being ignorant about all the things that happened during one of the darkest moments of Philippine history,” she said.
Virata served as Finance Minister under former president Ferdinand Marcos from 1970-1986, and became the fourth Prime Minister of the Philippines in 1981 until Marcos’ ouster in 1986.
“It’s also generally about college identity and pride; that even if Virata contributed a lot to the college, the identity of our college should still not be defined by a single person,” added de Leon.
The student body’s opposition is also supported by the results of a survey conducted by the College of Business Administration (CBA) Student Council last year on 346 business students. A total of 97 percent of respondents opposed the change.
According to the survey, 71 percent of respondents were against the name change and suggested to revert the name of the college to UP College of Business Administration, while 26 percent of respondents proposed to drop Virata’s name and use “UP School of Business” instead.
The name change was proposed by former Dean Ben Paul Gutierrez on August 30, 2012 and was approved April 12, 2013 by the Board of Regents, following a signature campaign held during the College Assembly held in the first semester of AY 2012-2013.
Regent Magdaleno Albarracin Jr. addressed a letter to UP President Alfredo Pascual, stating that P40 million will be donated to college upon the approval of the renaming. He was also a former dean of CBA.
The donation would be split into two separate payments amounting to P20 million each: the first to be made within two weeks thereof, and the second due within three months from the approval of the renaming.
The college administration currently supports the Board of Regents’ decision.
Meanwhile, student leaders have expressed their dismay over the renaming and their support for the CBA campaign against the said move.
Student Regent Krista Iris Melgarejo said it is not a concern of the college alone. She believes it is an insult to the history of mass movement in the University of the Philippines and the martyrs of Martial Law.
“Di lang siya building, ni-rename mo ang isang disiplina after Cesar Virata. At siyempre, ‘di malalayo diyan yung isyu ng commercialization. In essence, binibenta nalang ng University kung kani-kanino yung kanyang dangal, kasi may papasok nga na pera (It is not just a building; an entire discipline was named after Cesar Virata. There’s also the issue of commercialization. In essence, the University is selling its dignity, because of the money coming in),” she said.
The issue will be discussed again in the Board of Regents meeting scheduled on February 27.