Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. on Monday (13 November 2023) set the record straight on his educational background amid erroneous reports claiming he is a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), saying he quit school to raise his eldest child.
“Let me clear the air about my educational background given news reports that claim I am an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas, or any other institution of higher learning. That is not true,” said Laurel in a statement.
“I never finished my education because I became a father at 19. I needed to work to support my eldest child. My father impressed upon me that my responsibility as a father comes first,” he said.
Laurel stressed that he wanted to get a college degree but work and family obligations prevented him from doing so. He instead helped build the family’s flagship company, Frabelle, from a simple fishing operation to a conglomerate that now includes power generation, real estate development, meat and seafood processing, cold chain network, aquaculture, and ship building and repair. He has since divested from the family businesses upon entering public office.
“Like many, I dreamt of wearing a toga and receiving a diploma. But that wasn’t meant to be,” said Laurel. “The sea became my university, experiences in life taught me the value of perseverance, my children gave me the courage and inspiration to get to where I am now, and the good fortune I have today, I enjoy through God’s grace,” he added. ###