MANILA (UPDATED) - President Benigno Aquino III has named new National Artists but contrary to earlier reports, film superstar Nora Aunor is not one of them.
According to Communication Secretary Sonny Coloma, the next set of National Artists are:
Alice Reyes - Dance
Francisco Coching (Posthumous) - Visual Arts
Cirilo Bautista - Literature
Francisco Feliciano - Music
Ramon Santos - Music
Jose Maria Zaragoza (Posthumous) - Architecture, Design, and Allied Arts.
Coloma said the President signed and issued on Thursday Proclamation Numbers 807, 808, 809, 810, 811 and 812 declaring the National Artists.
Coloma did not explain why Aunor, who once faced an illegal drugs charge, was not among those named.
The Order of National Artists was established under Proclamation No. 1001 (s. 1972) to give appropriate recognition and prestige to Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine arts and letters.
It is the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts and letters.
The President will confer the Order of the National Artist to the awardees in a ceremony.
The Philippine Star reported that in 2009, the proclamation of National Artists became controversial when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dropped Ramon Santos, nominee for music, from the list submitted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Arroyo included four names: Carlo Caparas for visual arts and film, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez for theater, Jose “Pitoy” Moreno for fashion design and Francisco Mañosa for architecture.
The changes resulted in protests and a Supreme Court (SC) plea seeking the invalidation of the proclamation of the four added by Arroyo.
Santos, however, was included in the list supposedly submitted to Aquino.