MALACAÑANG Palace on June 10 recognized eight new National Artists for 2022.

The artists are: Agnes Locsin for Dance; Nora Villamayor (a.k.a Nora Aunor); Ricardo “Ricky” Lee and Marilou Diaz-Abaya for Film and Broadcast Arts; Gemino Abad for Literature; Fides Cuyugan-Asensio for Music; and posthumously, Antonio “Tony” Mabesa for Theater and Salvacion Lim Higgins for Fashion Design.

No awards were conferred this year in the fields of Visual Arts, and Architecture and Allied Arts.

The date of the awarding ceremonies is yet to be announced.

Fashion designer Salvacion Lim Higgins founded Slim’s Fashion & Arts School in 1960. Dancer and choreographer Agnes Locsin is known for her neo-ethnic dance choreography. Opera singer, actress, and librettist Fides Cuyugan-Asensio was the former Chairman of Voice and Music Theater Department at the UP College of Music. Nora Aunor is an acclaimed actress in films such as Himala, Tatlong Taon Walang Dios, Bona and Bulaklak sa City Jail, among many others. Marilou Diaz-Abaya directed such acclaimed films such as Brutal, Ang Bagong Buwan and the biographical film Jose Rizal. Screenwriter, author, and mentor Ricardo “Ricky” Lee wrote Filipino films such as Himala, The Flor Contemplacion Story, and Sa Kuko ng Agila. Director, actor, and mentor Tony Mabesa was the founder of the theater groups Dulaang UP and the UP Playwright’s Theater. Poet Gemino Abad, who has served in the University of the Philippines in various capacities through the years, co-founded the Philippine Literary Arts Council, edited landmark anthologies of Filipino poetry, and published his own works including poetry, critical essays, and critical theory.

The National Artist Award is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) by virtue of Proclamation No. 1390.

In 1972, the Order of National Artist was established under Proclamation No. 1001. It is the highest national recognition conferred upon Filipinos who have made distinct contributions to the development of the Philippine arts and culture.

The National artists receive a National Artist gold-plated medallion minted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and a citation.

The conferment to living National Artists also comes with privileges including a minimum cash award of P200,000 (net of taxes); a minimum lifetime personal monthly stipend of P50,000; medical and hospitalization benefits not exceeding P750,000 annually; coverage with a life insurance policy by the Government Service Insurance System and or/ private insurance companies; and a state funeral. Meanwhile, posthumous awardees are given a one-time minimum cash award of P150,000 (net of taxes), payable to the legal heir/s. — MAPS