MANILA, Philippines- Dr. Sibyl Jade Peña, who was supposed to be a keynote speaker for Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila’s special recognition ceremony for PhD and MA degree candidates, was disinvited by her Alma Matter after failing to send an advanced copy of her speech.
The Paris-based doctor, who is now working for Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors without Borders, received an invitation to speak before the graduates on March 11, 2015. Although she was asked by the PLM to provide an advanced copy of her speech, Dr. Peña immediately informed them that she could only finish the major part of her speech on her flight to Manila.
Since Dr. Peña will be coming from Europe, she had to book a flight to Manila using her own money, take a leave, and adjust work schedules.
On March 25, Dr. Peña received a letter from Dr. Elvira Manalang, PLM’s dean and hooding committee chair, informing her that she has been disinvited as a speaker for the event.
“As you have indicated yesterday, an advance copy of your speech is not possible until the time of your arrival in the country. In this case, we might not have ample time to meet the requirements or make necessary adjustments in preparation for the said event,” Dr. Manalang wrote in the letter.
Here’s a copy of Dr. Manalang’s letter which Dr. Peña shared on Facebook.
Still, Dr. Peña revealed in an interview with ABS-CBN News that she will still be coming to the Philippines.
“I’m still going home because it was so last minute—I can’t change my ticket as that would entail additional costs—and I have postponed project visits until I return from the Philippines,” she said.
Despite her frustration over the incident, Dr. Peña is still hoping to deliver a speech in front of the PLM graduates. She believes her experience in public health can inspire PLM graduates and doctors.
As of writing, the PLM has not given an official statement regarding the issue.
Prior to Dr. Pena’s case, Krisel Mallari, a student stopped by school officials from delivering an unapproved speech during her school’s graduation ceremony, became a hot topic on social media.