President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed a bill granting “national polytechnic university” status for the state-run Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), saying its performance vis-à-vis other state universities needed to be reassessed.

Duterte, in his veto message to members of Congress, also cited the financial impact of granting PUP fiscal, apart from institutional, autonomy, on the government.

“I cannot disregard the fact that the PUP, despite its stature in our education sector, is but one of many state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country,” he said in his letter explaining his veto on the new PUP charter, dated Sept. 4.

Duterte also argued that the comparative performance of PUP’s satellite campuses and extension programs versus those of other SUCs needed to be evaluated, “before granting the PUP system as a whole such privileged status.”

The president PUP must continue to be subject to budget prioritization “and the usual budgetary and monitoring purposes” to avoid a “significant fiscal impact on the government.”

PUP, founded as the Manila Business School in 1904, is the largest SUC in terms of population, with some 70,000 students across 20 campus in Metro Manila and Luzon.

The PUP proposal came more than a decade after Congress granted the University of the Philippines a new charter that allowed it fiscal autonomy and gave it the status of “national university.” (