4 NATIONAL ARTISTS HONORED ON INDEPENDENCE DAY
Manila, May 21, 2001 - Four National Artists for 2001, approved by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last April 20, 2001, will be honored in ceremonies to be held on June 11, the eve of Philippine Independence Day.
They are F. Sionil Jose (literature), Ang Kiukok (visual arts), Ishmael Bernal (film) and Severino Montano (theater arts).
What exactly is a National Artist? By definition, a National Artist is a Filipino who has made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts and has been awarded the highest national recognition for the arts, the National Artist Award or the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.
Today, it is the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) that administers the National Artist Award. According to renowned poet and NCCA executive director Virgilio Almario, the National Artist Award was established in April 27, 1972 through Presidential Proclamation No. 1001 signed by former President Ferdinand Marcos. Since its establishment, the award has been bestowed on 41 women and men, 12 of whom are alive today.
The award is conferred to living artists who are Filipino citizens, as well as artists who have been Filipino citizens for the last 10 years prior to nomination as well as those who were Filipino citizens at the time of their death after the establishment of the award in 1972; artists who have helped build a Filipino sense of nationhood through content and form of their works; artists who have distinguished themselves by pioneering in a mode of creative expression or style, thus making an impact on succeeding generations of artists; artists who have created a substantial and significant body of works and/or consistently displayed excellence in the practice of their artform thus enriching artistic expression or style; artists who enjoy broad acceptance through prestigious national and/or international recognition, awards in prestigious national and/or international events, critical acclaim and/or reviews of their works, and respect and esteem from peers within a recognized artistic discipline.
Almario says National Artists are entitled to a medallion and citation; a one-time cash award of P100,000, net of taxes; a monthly life pension; life insurance coverage for awardees who are still insurable; a place of honor at state functions, national commemorative ceremonies and other cultural events; and arrangements and expenses for a state funeral. When the NCCA assumed administration of the award in 1990, the commission increased the monthly life pension from P2,000 to P10,000. In December 1997 this was further increased to P24,000 a month.
The selection of the recipients of the National Artist Award is a long, tedious process armed with sufficient provisions for monitoring for effective transparency.
"After reviewing the selection process used for the 1999 batch of awardees, we made two significant changes to the process. One, we have added a Special Research Group that complements the nominations from the various art sectors. Two, we have convened the Council of Peers that does the actual deliberation and screening," says Almario.
The NCCA plans, organizes and implements the National Artist Award in coordination with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). In order to do this, the NCCA enlists the support and cooperation of private sector experts from the various fields of art to ensure that the awards are implemented in a successful and impartial manner.
To carry out the planning and implementation of the awards, the NCCA and CCP create an Award Secretariat. This secretariat also takes charge of disseminating information; receiving, screening and processing of nominations as well as searching for other qualified nominees. The secretariat is headed by the NCCA executive director and is composed of two representatives, each from the NCCA and the CCP.
The secretariat forms a Special Research Group composed of commissioned art experts. The members of the research group have expertise in one or more fields or disciplines grouped as follows: literature, film, theater and broadcast arts; visual arts and architecture; music and dance. They are also selected for their specialization in and familiarity with the works of the nominees. The research group validates works and accomplishments of the nominees. It also provides additional necessary data to provide a clearer idea of the nominees’ works and accomplishments. It may also add to the list of nominees artists who they feel deserve to be considered but were, for one reason or another, not nominated.
The secretariat also convenes The National Artist Award Council of Peers that screens the nomi-nees and recommends to the NCCA and CCP Boards the candidates for the National Artist Award. The council is composed of highly regarded artists, art critics, scholars (including cultural philosophers and historians), researchers and other knowledgeable individuals. The National Artists sit in the council as permanent members.
Twenty experts in each of the seven categories are selected by the award secretariat and approved by the NCCA Board based on the cited criteria. >From the list of 20 experts, the secretariat, by drawing lots, picks a maximum of 12 and a minimum of seven experts to sit in each category. National Artists are automatic members of the 12 and need not join the drawing of lots. An independent observer sits in the drawing to ensure a fair and honest selection.
The screening of the council has two levels the first and second deliberation. During the first deliberation, members of the council are grouped by category and screen only the nominees falling under their respective category (i.e. film and broadcast arts nominees for the council of peers for film and broadcast arts).
For the second deliberation, the members of the first deliberation panel choose by secret ballot three members from among them to represent their respective category.
The members of the panel for the second deliberation decide the final list of nominees forwarded for consideration of the NCCA and CCP Boards. The second deliberation process is chaired by the NCCA executive director and co-chaired by the CCP president.
The NCCA and CCP Boards are convened in a joint meeting to make the final approval of the list of nominees. The list is then forwarded to the President for approval of recipients.
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