PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday formally conferred the Order of National Artist on seven veteran artists, all renowned in their respective fields. They constitute the first batch of National Artists under his administration.
The seven National Artists for this year are composer, conductor and pianist Ryan Cayabyab, a pioneer of contemporary Filipino music and a 2004 recipient of the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining; architect Francisco Mañosa, whose works include the Coconut Palace, the Nayong Pilipino in Bicol, and the Pearl Farm Resort in Davao; historian, critic, and professor Resil B. Mojares, who was the director of the Cebuano Studies Center from 1975 to 1996 and whose books include “The War Against the Americans” and “Brains of the Nation”; theater and puppetry artist Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio, founder of Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas; and independent filmmaker Eric de Guia, better known as Kidlat Tahimik.
Posthumously honored as National Artists are writer Ramon Muzones (1913-1992) and iconic cartoonist Lauro “Larry” Alcala (1926-2002).
Malacañang also conferred the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) on National Living Treasures Estelita Bantilan, for B’laan Mat Weaving, of Malungon, Sarangani; Yabing Dulo for B’laan Ikat Weaving, of Polomolok, South Cotabato; and yakan weaver Ambalang Ausalin of Lamitan, Basilan.
Excluded once again from the title of National Artist is iconic actress-singer Nora Aunor, who was first excluded by Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno S.C. Aquino III, citing her drug record. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman