Among the more recent generation of stars in film and television who have managed to effortlessly move from one production to another across the major networks and studios in the Philippines, one of the most eye-catching has got to be the Japanese Brazilian model and actor Daniel Matsunaga. He was cast in shows from GMA Network, ABS-CBN and TV5 since 2010 following a successful modeling career. In between his latest television commitments, he has also been active as a practicing Christian, for which he has recently received an honorary doctorate degree from a theology school. But there is a problem.
CNN Philippines has it that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is contesting the validity of an “Honoris Causa” degree for Doctor of Humanities that was invested on Daniel Matsunaga by the Brethren Evangelical School of Theology (BEST) located in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. Earlier this week Matsunaga was given his honorary doctorate, with a Major in Social Work, and he went on social media to share footage and photos of the awarding ceremony, with him in a doctor’s toga and accompanied by family and friends. Two days after Matsunaga’s Instagram pose came sobering news from CHED about his honorary doctorate.
The CHED statement uploaded on Facebook this Tuesday, September 11, noted that BEST is not registered on their records of official and authorized institutions of higher learning in the country. In effect, not only is the Brethren Evangelical School of Theology not empowered to award honorary degrees, it should not even be operating as a school. According to the Commission, “Based on CHED records, the school has never applied for an authority to operate from the Commission and is not recognized as a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in the Philippines.”
In accordance with Memorandum Order No. 19 issued by CHED for compliance by all institutions of higher education in the Philippines, a HE school must first be in continuous operation for at least 25 years, and have a well-established reputation of graduating students that have gone on to successful businesses, careers or professions, before they can be authorized to award doctorate degrees Honoris Causa. Thus, as CHED concludes in its statement, “The public is hereby advised that the awarding of an Honorary Doctorate Degree or Honoris Causa by Brethren Evangelical School of Theology to any person will not be recognized by the Commission on Higher Education.” Daniel Matsunaga has yet to voice his response to the devaluation of his doctorate.
While his last movie appearances have been from last year, Matsunaga still has a TV presence. GMA Network has an upcoming new drama series entitled “Mag-Asawa, Magkaribal” with him as part of the cast in an undisclosed role. Furthermore, he has also been tapped as host for the Discovery Channel/TLC documentary program “Discover the Philippines”.
Image courtesy of MSN.com