Sign now the Proclamation of new National Artists of the Philippines
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It has been eight months since Malacañang received the official and formal endorsement by The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines of six new National Artists for confirmation, proclamation, and conferment by President Aquino. They include Nora Villamayor (a.k.a. Nora Aunor) for Film, Alice Reyes for Dance, Francisco Feliciano for Music, Francisco Coching for Visual Arts, Cirilo Bautista for Literature, and Jose Ma. Zaragoza for Architecture.
And while the Committee on Honors of Malacañang, which serves as the National Awards Committee, has found all of them worthy to be proclaimed, UP TO THIS DATE, NOT ONE PROCLAMATION FOR ANY OF THE SIX CANDIDATES HAS BEEN SIGNED, because the President returned ALL of their documents to the Office of the Executive Secretary (as we have learned on May 2, 2014).
Eight months since October 1, 2013. This is taking longer than the time needed by the NCCA and CCP to process the nominations. These two institutions represent the artistic community, and have the legal mandate to administer the selection of nominees for National Artists. Theirs is the more crucial and important vetting process.
TO PRESIDENT AQUINO: If you are taking so long to review what the NCCA and CCP have done, does this mean that you do not trust these institutions in the recommendations they have made? Do you think their process is not credible enough to warrant your confidence? Is there anything that's yet to be done in the vetting process to make the endorsements more acceptable and convincing? Is this something that you can inform the public about in the name of transparency?
Mr. President, the public and the media have been waiting for the Palace proclamation since October 2013, when we first learned about the endorsement. CCP and NCCA did not disclose it to us, because they have been strict to follow their own confidentiality clause. But we learned about the endorsement through some strategic efforts, because the public cannot be denied of its right to information, let alone transparency in governance.
We believe it was fair enough to make this information known to the public because the decision by the Joint Boards of the CCP and NCCA has been submitted to Malacañang in late September 2013, and on that turn, we expect transparency in the final stage of the process. On our part, we needed to be vigilant to ensure that the transgressions of 2009 will remain a thing of the past. After all, this is a state honor, and the institutions involved operate on public funds, hence the public interest.
And so we have watched closely since then, taking note of every turn in the process. Now that all required processes under the law have been completed, and the Honors Committee has endorsed to you all six candidates for confirmation, proclamation, and conferment, we do not see any compelling reason why you still won't proclaim. Conversely, we believe it will be unpopular and unreasonable for you to delay it any further. Also, denying proclamation to any one of the six candidates would be harder to explain, because they have passed all tests as required in the vetting process.
President Benigno S. Aquino III, when we learned about the new candidates for the Order of National Artists, we welcomed it with much rejoicing, because a new set of National Artists means the restoration of trust and respect for this state honor. We believe that you want your platform of governance, "Daang Matuwid" to be manifest as well in the Arts, and what better way to affirm this than to give the artistic community and the Filipino nation a new set of National Artists for our adulation and celebration. We need this inspiration in these uninspiring times.
~ Nora Aunor for National Artist Movement
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