• Aquino confers highest award on artists

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday formally conferred the Order of National Artists (Orden ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) on nine Filipinos who made distinct contributions in the field of arts and letters.

    The new batch of National Artists was feted in a ceremony in Malacañang.

    “Tunay nga: Sa pagbabahagi ng inyong obra at talento, nagsisilbi kayong tulay at inspirasyon sa pag-usbong ng marami pang mahuhusay na Pilipino. Sa pagbubukas-palad at pag-aalay ninyo ng sarili, napapanatili at lalo nating napapayabong ang ating kultura at pagkakilanlan (By sharing your work and talent, you serve as a bridge and inspiration for other talented Filipinos. By offering yourselves, you help boost and recognize our culture),” he said.

    In 2014, six of the awardees were proclaimed as National Artists by President Aquino, but
    were not conferred the award.

    They are Cirilo F. Bautista (Literature), Alice G. Reyes (Dance), Ramon P. Santos (Music), Jose Maria V. Zaragoza (Architecture, posthumous), Francisco Feliciano (Music, posthumous), Francisco V. Coching (Visual Arts, posthumous).

    In 2009, then-president Gloria Arroyo named six individuals as National Artists, but they also were not granted the award after a much-publicized controversy. Three were removed by the Supreme Court.

    The remaining three from this batch will be posthumously awarded — Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (Visual Arts), Manuel Conde (Cinema) and Lazaro Francisco (Literature).

    The National Artist Award is the highest national recognition given to Filipinos who made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts — Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Broadcast Arts and Architecture and Allied Arts.

    The award is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

    The National Artist Award is given every three years. To date there are 66 National Artists, including those newly proclaimed.

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