By Bryan Ezra Gonzales
Updated and corrected Feb. 23, 12 a.m.
The UP Board of Regents (BOR) conferred naming rights to SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) Chairperson and CEO Henry Sy Sr. during its last meeting on February 6 to acknowledge the company’s donation for the construction of the UP Professional Schools in Taguig.
SMIC will donate P400 million for the construction of the new UP building in Bonifacio Global City, which will stand on the 4300-square meter lot donated by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
The building will be named Henry Sy Sr. Hall and is subject to Republic Act 1059 and the university’s Naming Rights Policy. An appropriate signage will be placed in front of the building.
RA 1059 prohibits the naming of localities, public institutions, and public structures after living persons “except when it is a condition in a donation in favor of the government.”
Under Article 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 of UP Naming Rights Policy, buildings, structures, streets, parks and other places in the University may be named after someone who has “exceptional or exemplary achievement in his/her field/profession, or significant contribution to the University or the Filipino people” and someone who has a “sterling reputation or could be looked upon as a role model of the youth”.
The BOR also approved the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between UP and SMIC, which guarantees the full turnover of the building to the university.
Under the MOA, the university will have the following responsibilities:
- Provide SMIC with the Terms of Reference (TOR) and project specifications through the Office of the Vice President for Development (OVPD)/Office of Design and Planning Initiatives (ODPI)
- Assist SMIC in obtaining permits, consents, licenses, and other government requirements
- Assist in facilitating the safekeeping, security, and mobilization of construction materials and equipment related to the construction of the facilities
- Extend all necessary assistance to the donor to avail of tax exemption provided for under Section 25 of RA 9500
Section 25 of RA 9500, also known as the UP Charter of 2008, states that “gifts and donations of real and personal properties of all kinds shall be exempt from the donor’s tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deductions from the gross income of the donor.”
On the other hand, SMIC is responsible for the following tasks:
- Prepare the Architectural and Engineering Plans (Construction Plans) for the project in accordance with the TOR
- Submit the Construction Plans to UP for approval
- Undertake the actual execution of the Construction Plans
- Provide the required funds for the design and construction of the building and facilities, and the fees that may be imposed on construction
- With the assistance of UP, secure the necessary permits, consents, and licenses
Upon its completion, the building will house the graduate programs of the School of Statistics, College of Business Administration, College of Engineering, College of Law, and several other academic units, as well as courses offered by the UP Open University.
However, Student Regent Krista Melgarejo stated in her report on the 1295th Board of Regents meeting that while she is not against the expansion of the university’s facilities, the project compromises the university’s public character.
“With the approval of the said MOA, it is with great disappointment that UP has again sold its dignity in exchange for funding and facilities which, in the first place, should have been provided by the national government,” said Melgarejo.