|King of Comedy Dolphy. File photo
MANILA, Philippines – The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on Friday reacted to calls to give the National Artist award to Comedy King Dolphy, who is now in critical condition.
The NCCA said the selection of National Artists is a “long process which sometimes takes about two years,” addressing calls by politicians and citizens to confer the award to the veteran actor.
“That Mang Dolphy has not been awarded the recognition yet does not reflect on the government or the arts sector wanting or not wanting to do so,” it said in a statement.
“For the moment, we understand that Mang Dolphy has been nominated and is now undergoing the process of evaluation – along with other noteworthy artists. In the meantime, we continue to pray for his recovery and return to full health,” it added.
The NCCA also explained how a National Artist is selected.
“An initial screening and verification of their accomplishments and merits by the National Artist Award Secretariat and its Special Research Group, happens before a two-part deliberation procedure.
“The deliberation is composed of two different panels (The National Artist Council of Experts), which is composed of esteemed scholars, academicians, researches, art critics and other knowledgeable individuals from the seven disciplines of art, as well as living National Artists.
“After the second deliberation, the experts recommend the shortlisted nominees, and presented to the joint NCCA and CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) Boards for final selections, through a votation. The final list of awardees is then submitted to the President of the Philippines for confirmation, proclamation and conferment.”
On Thursday, Malacañang said it will not fast-track the process of conferring the National Artist award to Dolphy, saying that it might be politicized.
"Let me emphasize that the President strongly believes in the tremendous contribution of Dolphy to our industry, to the Philippine cultural society. But having said that, again, there is a process and it is a very tedious, stringent process one that should be free from politics," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
Lacieda said it is up to the NCCA and CCP to jumpstart the process.
More and more Filipinos are rooting for Dolphy to be named National Artist. Among them are party-list Akap Bata, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Manuel Villar.
Celebrities and ordinary Filipinos were also one in pushing for the recognition of Dolphy as National Artist as they turned to microblogging site Twitter to air their sentiments.