Clamor for Dolphy national artist award puts pressure on NCCABy Cathy Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The intense public demand to give Dolphy the national artist award has pressured the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to put its selection process “under review,” Senator Edgardo Angara said Sunday.
The commission’s “rules of selection” are being reassessed to “do away with superfluous procedures,” said the chair of the Senate education committee who sits on the NCCA board.
“Dolphy is really more than deserving of the national artist award. For a long time, he [was] a living legend and is entitled to the award, even if posthumously given,” Angara said in a radio interview.
He lamented that the selection process had prevented the commission from responding to the clamor to confer the award on Dolphy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon in real life, who died on July 10 at the age of 83.
“If I had the choice, I would have given the title to Dolphy at once, if only to show appreciation for the unique talent he possessed, while he was still alive. Because what he did was an extraordinary thing—making the entire Filipino people laugh,” Angara explained.
“But as the NCCA explained before, there is a process that must be followed. It had been there before I came in. There is a nomination committee that accepts names, then a review must be done before the list is submitted to the board.”
Senator Joker Arroyo was the first to raise a howl over the government’s failure to recognize the country’s talented citizens.
In May, he took the floor after the Senate passed a resolution recognizing the artistry of the late painter Anita Magsaysay-Ho and complained that accomplishments of outstanding Filipinos were usually cited upon their death. Arroyo said this meant that the artists were unable to enjoy the accolade they deserved in life.
Bagong Henerasyon Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy said Sunday she was filing a resolution to give Dolphy the Congressional Medal of Distinction, the highest award Congress could grant on an individual similar to that given to boxing icon and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao in 2010.
“Mang Dolphy may not have reached international fame like our very own Congressman Pacquiao, but he left an indelible mark in the hearts of Filipinos whom he gifted with joy and laughter in the face of economic and political adversities in the past several decades,” she said in a statement.
Malacañang on Sunday urged the nation to celebrate the life of the late comedy king. “We continue to condole with his loved ones and his friends,” President Aquino’s deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said on government radio.
The Manila council passed a resolution mourning the passing of its “favorite son” and expressing the city’s deepest sympathy to the actor’s bereaved family. Dolphy was born on July 25, 1928, on Calle Padre Herrera, now P. Herrera Street, in Tondo.
In a statement, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim also paid tribute to Dolphy. “His life story inspired millions of Filipinos to work hard despite hardships and trials in life and this virtue is worthy of accolades and emulation,” he said. With reports from Gil C. Cabacungan, Christine O. Avendaño and Jaymee T. Gamil