Senators join clamor for Dolphy to be made national artistBy Cathy Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Asked once what he thought of suggestions he be declared a National Artist, Dolphy replied he would rather be proclaimed “National Arthritis.” If it were up to the Senate only, the beloved comedian would be a National Artist in no time.
Senators have joined the clamor for the coveted title, one of the highest honors given to Filipino artists, performer, to be bestowed on the ailing 83-year-old performer known in real life as Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr.
Sen. Manuel Villar, whom Dolphy endorsed for president in the 2010 elections, on Thursday reiterated his call to have the title conferred on the comedian for his “outstanding achievement in the entertainment industry.”
The senator said he had written Cultural Center of the Philippines chair Emily Abrera with this request as early as 2007.
“Dolphy is one of the few gems of the entertainment industry. His feat as a comedian will be very hard to replicate,” Villar said. “But more than the trophies he collected, Dolphy is known as a compassionate man, donating substantial wealth and talent to assist health welfare programs and provide financial assistance to senior actors and those involved in filmmaking, including extras, stuntmen, bit players, crews and technical staff.”
Villar noted that he and Dolphy both came from humble beginnings in Tondo, Manila.
“I have great admiration for people who came from humble beginnings and worked their way to the top. They teach the youth the value of hard work,” Villar said.
Sen. Gregorio Honasan announced he will file two resolutions—one recognizing Dolphy’s contributions to the development and international recognition of the Philippine movie and television industry and another reiterating his elevation to National Artist.
Sen. Pia Cayetano recalled it was Sen. Joker Arroyo who once complained that the government declares accomplished Filipinos National Artists when they are dead. This leaves the great achievers with no chance to enjoy the honor, Arroyo explained.
“Come to think of it; why is it that the citations are always belated? I think everyone knows that Dolphy deserves it. And there are those who already regard him as the National Artist in the Filipinos’ heart and everything…. But of course, it’s always nice to have an official recognition,” Cayetano told reporters.
Honasan agreed, saying “any formal recognition of Dolphy would be appropriate now while he, his loved ones and our people can better appreciate it.”