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Age discrimination? The case of the University of the Philippines Diliman

by on October 5, 2016

In February this year, we ran one of our occasional ‘Age discrimination: Spotlight on…’ blogposts, looking specifically at the Philippines. Over the summer, the country introduced a new law, the Republic Act 10911, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of age in relation to hiring workers. The Philippine Star reports that the new law will penalize organizations that refuse to appoint people ‘because of their advanced age’ (their words, not mine).

This week, however, sees the intriguing case of four nominees for the post of President of the University of the Philippines Diliman being disqualified from the search because of their age. According to the report on the Inquirer website, the Board of Regents, the university’s highest decision-making body, has stipulated that the next President must complete the full term of six years before he or she turns 70 years old.

Rather bizarrely, given the recent legislative change, this is said to be a recent development. Apparently, the age requirement was only imposed during this current selection process and had not been a criterion in previous presidential searches.

Michael Tan, one of the nominees, is reported as saying: “In effect, it sets 64 years old as the age requirement. I am a medical anthropologist and I can say that the 60s is the new young.” You can read his full statement about the decision via this link (it’s worth a read).

At Birkbeck, our President is Joan Bakewell who, I hope she doesn’t mind me saying, is only 83; our previous President was Eric Hobsbawm who served in that post until his death aged 95 in 2012.

University of the Philippines Diliman: Please take note!

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