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Sunday, September 13, 2009

GMA STANDING BY ARTIST CHOICES


From Manila Bulletin

GMA standing by Artist choices
By CHARISSA M. LUCI, JUDE THADDEUS L. BAUTISTA
August 26, 2009, 5:44pm

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision barring the conferment of National Artist titles on seven individuals, Malacanang said Wednesday President Arroyo is standing by her proclaimed choices for this year’s recipients of the Order of the National Artist.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita also expressed support to the President’s decision to bestow the award on her choices who, he said, excelled in their fields, adding that she has the “final say” in choosing them.

He said the President will “definitely” stick with her choices, four of whom were not on a list recommended by the boards of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), namely, Cecille Guidote Alvarez for theater, Carlos Caparas for visual arts, Jose “Pitoy” Moreno for fashion design, and Francisco Manosa for architecture.

“The President has the final say on those that should be awarded and for as long as there’s nothing violated in the law, nothing illegal is done,” Ermita said in a press briefing.

“We believe on the primacy of the President’s authority as the one mandated by the law to be the one to make the final choice; that could very well be considered by the Supreme Court. But, of course we are not dictating upon the Supreme Court. I’m very sure that fundamentals of the existing laws will come up.”

He also expressed the Palace’s openness to dialogue not only with the concerned parties but also with the involved agencies, including the CCP and the NCCA.

“The only thing that we’re trying to tell the public is the President is within her authority to make final decision, especially as to who will be rewarded or who should not be rewarded.”

In an order issued last Tuesday, the Supreme Court granted a petition filed by several national artists, university deans and professors, and private individuals against the the holding of the award rites.

The SC ruling also affected the proclamation of Manuel Conde (posthumous) for film and broadcast arts, Lazaro Francisco (posthumous) for literature, and Federico Aguilar Alcuaz for visual arts. They have to wait until the case is resolved.

Meanwhile, Fr. James B. Reuters said he nominated Alvarez and had thanked President Arroyo for naming her as one of this year’s National Artists.

“Thank you for listening to my appeal to make Cecile Guidote Alvarez a National Artist,” he wrote the President. “She deserves this for her amazing ability as a dramatic performer in highly professional plays; second, for her ability to organize dramatic groups like the Philippine Educational Theater Association; third, for her ability to organize the handicapped like the Earth Saver’s Dream Ensemble; and lastly for the excellent work she has done in bringing local drama to foreign nations like ‘Something to Crow About’ in the United States.”

Alejandro Roces and Sen. Edgardo J. Angara also supported the nomination of Alvarez for the award.

Fr. Reuters said he sent an earlier letter to the Presdent on May 13, in which he stated: “Her creative work for 50 years serving the country is well recognized not just with the Ramon Magsaysay award but with other international awards from UNESCO and other agencies. It is appropriate that the government bestow the highest award for her patriotic work through the arts. As leader of this country, you probably realize that the social work done through the arts is more important than politics.”

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