National Treasure, National Artists

yellowribbon2National Treasure, National Artists

I cried buckets yesterday on the passing of President Cory Aquino. She may not have been the perfect president, but she was a moral beacon to many, especially these times when the country seems to be reverting back to the dark ages. I cried because the nation lost a most valued Icon, and I got sad because I thought the country would have needed her voice in next year’s national elections and in the years ahead.

It’s a little significant on my part to have believed in what Cory stood for, since way back in 1986, when, as a sixth-grader trying to understand what was happening in those four days of February, the elders of my mostly Ilocano family listened to the Marcos radio broadcasts just like all the Loyalists did, instead of the “revolutionary” broadcasts from the Cory camp. I was wondering why we stayed at home and not join the millions in EDSA, but then I understood why. “Housewife,” my father said, “what does she know?” My mother, born of Ilocano parents but raised in Negros, remains a loyalist to this day as does several of my eldest brothers.

In contrast to the inspiring late president, the current outgoing GMA seems to be devoid of any sanctity in the fibers of her being with all the political accommodations she has been dispensing left and right throughout her term.

Take the case of the recent announcements of National Artists (appointments? the “distinction” is conferred, but one recipient describes it as an “award.” My dear sir, my understanding of the distinction is that it is an HONOR bestowed by the people of this NATION upon those whom the people hold the highest regard for in the field of Arts. It is not the Metro Filmfest Award, nor is it the Anvil awards for your Komiks. And no, your comic books and massacre movies are not deserving of the distinction). related story here.

It seems the current outgoing president (I want to repeat that, in case she decides not to honor her promise, again as she did in 2004) shares the Komical Artist’s interpretation of the honor. Because it is a Presidential prerogative, the current president has desecrated the HONOR of the distinction as well as everyone that has been conferred the title in the past.

Caparas, who does not deserve the honor (sign the petition here if you believe it that much), and Guidote-Alvarez, who probably deserves the honor but not while she heads the board that confers the title, should both refuse the “award” from their patroness the current outgoing president. There is such a thing as delicadeza in these lands.

Until they do, the title National Artist shall remain tainted as a mere presidential whim, stripped of any HONOR, whose definition this country seems to have forgotten or lost, along with the passing of Cory.


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