Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gloria Arroyo and her National Artists (On the New Order of National Artists of the Philippines)

By Siesta-friendly

Reading the Guidelines for conferring the title of National Artist of the Philippines on the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) webpage, one learns that the “Order of National Artists aims to recognize:

  1. Filipino artists who have made significant contributions to the cultural heritage of the country.
  2. Filipino artistic accomplishment at its highest level and to promote creative expression as significant to the development of a national cultural identity.
  3. Filipino artists who have dedicated their lives to their works to forge new paths and directions for future generations of Filipino artists.”

Reading Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s newly proclaimed National Artists for 2009, one might wonder when the culture of corruption was officially acknowledged as part of our cultural heritage.

Yes, there could be a New Order of National Artists of the Philippines. That seems to be the only way to explain the newly named National Artists most of whom were chosen in blatant disregard of the rules, spirit and intent in awarding the title of National Artist.

What are the selection process and committees for?

The Guidelines clearly state that “[T]he order is jointly administered by the NCCA and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and conferred by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation by both institutions”. Yet, of the 7 National Artists on Arroyo’s list, only 3 were chosen by the NCCA or CCP. 4 of the 7 were not recommended by the NCCA or the CCP.

So what guidelines were followed in choosing these 4: Cecile Guidote-Alvarez (wife of Presidential Adviser for climate change Heherson Alvarez), Carlo Magno Jose J. Caparas (famous for his comic strips and massacre films), architect Francisco “Bobby” MaƱosa and fashion designer Jose “Pitoy” Moreno?

The Guidelines also state that “NCCA and CCP Board members and consultants and NCCA and CCP officers and staff are automatically disqualified from being nominated”. So what is NCCA Commissioner and Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez doing on Arroyo’s list as National Artist for Theater? Ms. Guidote-Alvarez is also the Presidential Adviser on Culture Affairs. She could be the National Artist for Conflict of Interest.

When asked for her comment on Virgilio Almario’s decision to decline his nomination as National Artist while the latter was then still NCCA Executive Director, Ms. Guidote-Alvarez merely stated the obvious by saying she was “not Almario”. Of course she’s not. Mr. Almario has a sense of what is improper.

Mr. Almario, being truly deserving of the title, was made National Artist in 2003. If an artist is confident of his/her achievements, he/she will not be worried about not receiving the honor in the future, from any president.


Now we go to Arroyo’s National Artist for Visual Arts and Film. The Guidelines provide that the “Order of National Artists shall be given to:

  1. Living artists who are Filipino citizens at the time of nomination, as well as those who died after the establishment of the award in 1972 but were Filipino citizens at the time of their death;
  2. Artists who through the content and form of their works have contributed in building a Filipino sense of nationhood;
  3. Artists who have pioneered in a mode of creative expression or style, thus, earning distinction and making an impact on succeeding generations of artists;
  4. Artists who have created a substantial and significant body of works and/or consistently displayed excellence in the practice of their art form thus enriching artistic expression or style; and
  5. Artists who enjoy broad acceptance through:

· prestigious national and/or international recognition, such as the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining, CCP Thirteen Artists Award and NCCA Alab ng Haraya;

· critical acclaim and/or reviews of their works;

· respect and esteem from peers.”

Exactly which criterion did Carlo J. Caparas meet? He has never been known as an illustrator so the visual arts nod is incomprehensible. And to place him on the same level as filmmakers Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Gerry de Leon and Eddie Romero taints the renown associated with such names.


Adding insult to injury, Arroyo took out composer Ramon Santos’s name from the list of nominees. If he was meant to make way for Carlos J. Caparas, all the more that the latter’s inclusion does not make sense knowing the former’s accomplishments.

Arroyo’s skill for adding-subtracting votes knows no bounds. What began during the presidential elections has been honed through the years by sheer lack of shame and manifest arrogance.

The President is already given the prerogative of conferring the Presidential Medal of Merit. She can abuse that prerogative all she wants. Why venture into the highest Cultural Order, abuse presidential power and mess with the Order of the National Artist? What are rules for?

She may be the nation’s poster girl for the culture and art of corruption but she should at least try to disprove it sometimes.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Long overdue ang National Artist Award para kay Cecile Guidote Alvarez,maging para kay direk Carlo J. Caparas . Tama din ang pagpili sa iba pang 2009 National Artist ni PGMA.
Hindi matatawaran ang ambag ni Cecile sa paglaganap ng Teatro ng Bayan sa pamamagitan ng cultural caregiving na programa nito.
Mali ang isyu na delicadeza na ibinabato kay Cecile Guidote Alvarez bilang National Artist. Pinili si Cecile ng panahon at long overdue ang parangal na ito sa kanya bilang founder ng PETA.
Si Cecile ang pinakabatang Ramon Magsaysay awardee noong 1972. Pundasyon si Cecile ng Balintataw at bantog sa UNESCO at International Theater Institute.Mabuhay ka Cecile.
Malaki ang kontribusyon ni Cecile at si Sen. Heherson Alvarez sa pagtatamo ng bansa ng demokrasya at pagbuwag ng diktadurya. Tunay siyang dapat tanghalin na Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.
Marami mga sikat na artists at mga gifted na marginalized children na nadiskubre ng PETA dahil sa pangangalaga ni Cecile. Mabuhay Ka. Mali ang bintang nila sa iyo.
Istupido ang mga nagbibintang ng masama kay Cecile sa isyu ng National Artist lalu na at siya ay itinaguyod ng ibang artist group upang mapagkalooban ng Pangulo ng natatanging parangal.
Nakita kay Cecile ang pagmamalasakit nito sa sining kahit na ubusin niya ang kanyang talino at oras sa gitna ng kalagayan ng kanyang kalusugan upang mapagyaman ang ating kultura. Mabuhay ka Cecile, tunay kang tapat na Pambansang Alagad ng Sining!
Naiingit lang ang mga bumabatikos kina Carlo J. at Cecile sa National Artist at nalason na ang utak nila ng kanilang pagkamuhi sa lipunan.
Desente at hindi malaswa ang lengguahe ni Carlo J at kapupulutan ng aral ang bawat komiks novels nito.
Buhay na pruweba si Carlo J. ng isang henyo na umasenso sa buhay dahil sa sipag at tiyaga at pagpupunyagi sa buhay at hindi nananatiling kritiko ng lipunan at pasaway ng bayan na wala naming kalalagyan ang kinabukasan kung hindi sa impiyerno lang.