What is a National Artist?
A National Artist is a Filipino citizen who has been given the rank and title of National Artist in recognition of his or her significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts and letters.
The rank and title of National Artist is conferred by means of a Presidential Proclamation. It recognizes excellence in the fields of Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film and Broadcast Arts, and Architecture or Allied Arts.
What is the Order of National Artists?
Those who have been proclaimed National Artists are given a Grand Collar symbolizing their status. Recipients of this Grand Collar make up the Order of National Artists. The Order of National Artists (Orden ng Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is thus a rank, a title, and a wearable award that represents the highest national recognition given to Filipinos who have made distinct contributions in the field of arts and letters. It is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and is conferred by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation by both institutions.
As one of the Honors of the Philippines, it embodies the nation’s highest ideals in humanism and aesthetic expression through the distinct achievements of individual citizens. The Order of National Artists shares similarities with orders, decorations, and medals of other countries recognizing contributions to their national culture such as, the U.S. National Medal for the Arts, and the Order of Culture of Japan.
According to the rules of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the Order of National Artists should be conferred every three years.
The insignia of the Order of National Artists
The insignia of the Order of the National Artists is composed of a Grand Collar featuring circular links portraying the arts, and an eight-pointed conventionalized sunburst suspended from a sampaguita wreath in green and white enamel. The central badge is a medallion divided into three equal portions, red, white, and blue, recalling the Philippine flag, with three stylized letter Ks—the “KKK” stands for the CCP’s motto: “katotohanan, kabutihan, at kagandahan” (“the true, the good, and the beautiful”), as coined by then first lady Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, the CCP’s founder. The composition of the Grand Collar is silver gilt bronze. In place of a rosette there is an enameled pin in the form of the insignia of the order.
When was the Order of National Artists created?
It was established by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1001, s. 1972, which created the Award and Decoration of National Artist, “to give appropriate recognition and prestige to Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine arts and letters,” and which posthumously conferred the award on the painter Fernando Amorsolo, who had died earlier that year.
Legal basis of the Order of National Artists
Proclamation No. 1144, s. 1973 named the CCP Board of Trustees as the National Artist Awards Committee (or Secretariat). Presidential Decree No. 208, s. 1973 reiterated the mandate of the CCP to administer the National Artist Awards as well as the privileges and honors to National Artists.
Executive Order No. 236 s. 2003, otherwise known as the Honors Code of the Philippines, conferred additional prestige on the National Artist Award by raising it to the level of a Cultural Order, fourth in precedence among the orders and decorations that comprise the Honors of the Philippines, and equal in rank to the Order of National Scientists and the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan. The National Artist Award was thereby renamed the Order of National Artists (Orden ng mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining). This reflected the consensus among government cultural agencies and the artistic community that the highest possible international prestige and recognition should be given our National Artists. Section 5 of EO 236 stated the President may confer the Order of National Artists “upon the recommendation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).”
Executive Order No. 435, s. 2005 amended Section 5 (IV) of EO 236, giving the President the power to name National Artists without need of a recommendation, relegating the NCCA and the CCP to mere advisory bodies that may or may not be heeded. This expanded President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s flexibility to proclaim National Artists at her discretion, which led to the controversy of 2009 and the subsequent intervention of the Supreme Court by issuing a status quo ante order against the awardees that year.
In May 2009, four recommendations were sent to President Arroyo by the Secretariat. President Arroyo issued proclamations on July 2009 for three, excluding for one nominee, Ramon P. Santos.
In addition, President Arroyo issued proclamations for four individuals who were not recommended, namely, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Francisco T. Mañosa, Magno Jose J. Caparas, and Jose “Pitoy” Moreno. These four artists have not been vetted and deliberated upon by the Secretariat.
As a result, the majority of living national artists (Almario, Lumbera, et. al.) filed a petition questioning President Arroyo’s abuse of her discretion by proclaiming as national artists individuals (Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Mañosa, and Moreno) who have not gone through the rigorous screening and selection process of the NCCA and the CCP.
In July 2013, the Supreme Court, in the case of Almario vs the Executive Secretary (GR No. 189028, July 16, 2013), invalidated President Arroyo’s proclamations of four national artists. It decided that, as the source of all honors, the President has the discretion to reject or approve nominees. However, the President does not have the discretion to amend the list by adding names that did not go through the NCCA-CCP process. The discretion is confined to the names submitted by the NCCA and CCP.
From 2009 until 2011, in the absence of any resolution by the Supreme Court, the Secretariat had the impression that they may not process any future nominations. The Order of the National Artists is supposed to be proclaimed every three years.
When the Secretariat consulted the Office of the Solicitor General, clarification was provided. The Supreme Court’s status quo ante order only applied to the batch of 2009 nominees. Therefore, upon the advice of the Solicitor General, the Secretariat decided to once more proceed with the process.
Process of nomination and conferment of the Order
Criteria for the Order of National Artists
1. Living artists who are Filipino citizens at the time of nomination, as well as those who died after the establishment of the award in 1972 but were Filipino citizens at the time of their death;
2. Artists who, through the content and form of their works, have contributed in building a Filipino sense of nationhood;
3. Artists who have pioneered in a mode of creative expression or style, thus earning distinction and making an impact on succeeding generations of artists;
4. Artists who have created a substantial and significant body of work and/or consistently displayed excellence in the practice of their art form thus enriching artistic expression or style; and
5. Artists who enjoy broad acceptance through:
• prestigious national and/or international recognition, such as the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining, CCP Thirteen Artists Award and NCCA Alab ng Haraya;
• critical acclaim and/or reviews of their works;
• respect and esteem from peers.
Those submitting nominations for National Artist must submit the following:
• A cover letter from the nominating organization. The cover letter shall be accompanied by a Board Resolution approving the nomination concerned with the said resolution signed by the organization President and duly certified by the Board Secretary.
• A duly accomplished nomination form;
• A detailed curriculum vitae of the nominee;
• A list of the nominee’s significant works categorized according to the criteria;
• The latest photograph (color or black and white) of the nominee, either 5″ x 7″ or 8″ x 11″;
• Pertinent information materials on the nominee’s significant works (on CDs, VCDs and DVDs);
• Copies of published reviews; and
• Any other document that may be required.
To the following addresses:
The NATIONAL ARTIST AWARD SECRETARIAT Office of the Artistic Director Cultural Center of the Philippines Roxas Boulevard, 1300 Pasay City
The NATIONAL ARTIST AWARD SECRETARIAT Office of the Deputy Executive Director National Commission for Culture and the Arts 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
A member of the Order of National Artists are granted the following honors and privileges:
1. The rank and title of National Artist, as proclaimed by the President of the Philippines;
2. The insignia of a National Artist and a citation;
3. A lifetime emolument and material and physical benefits comparable in value to those received by the highest officers of the land such as:
a. a cash award of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) net of taxes, for living awardees;
b. a cash award of Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) net of taxes, for posthumous awardees, payable to legal heir/s;
c. a monthly life pension, medical and hospitalization benefits;
d. life insurance coverage for Awardees who are still insurable;
e. a state funeral and burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani;
f. a place of honor, in line with protocular precedence, at national state functions, and recognition at cultural events.
Appendix: The Roster of National Artists
Date of Award
|1. Fernando Amorsolo (++)||1972||Painting|
|2. Francisca R. Aquino (+)||1973||Dance|
|3. Carlos V. Francisco (++)||1973||Painting|
|4. Amado V. Hernandez (++)||1973||Literature|
|5. Antonio J. Molina (+)||1973||Music|
|6. Juan F. Nakpil (+)||1973||Architecture|
|7. Guillermo E. Tolentino (+)||1973||Sculpture|
|8. Jose Garcia Villa (+)||1973||Literature|
|9. Napoleon V. Abueva||1976||Sculpture|
|10. Lamberto V. Avellana (+)||1976||Theater and Film|
|11. Leonor O. Goquingco (+)||1976||Dance|
|12. Nick Joaquin (+)||1976||Literature|
|13. Jovita Fuentes (+)||1976||Music|
|14. Victorio C. Edades (+)||1976||Painting|
|15. Pablo S. Antonio (++)||1976||Architecture|
|16. Vicente S. Manansala (++)||1981||Painting|
|17. Carlos P. Romulo (+)||1982||Literature|
|18. Gerardo de Leon (++)||1982||Film|
|19. Honorata “Atang” dela Rama (++)||1987||Theater and Music|
|20. Antonio R. Buenaventura (+)||1988||Music|
|21. Lucrecia R. Urtula (+)||1988||Dance|
|22. Lucrecia R. Kasilag (+)||1989||Music|
|23. Francisco Arcellana (+)||1990||Literature|
|24. Cesar Legaspi (+)||1990||Visual Arts|
|25. Leandro V. Locsin (+)||1990||Architecture|
|26. Hernando R. Ocampo (++)||1991||Visual Arts|
|27. Lucio D. San Pedro (+)||1991||Music|
|28. Lino Brocka (++)||1997||Cinema|
|29. Felipe D. De Leon (++)||1997||Music|
|30. Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (++)||1997||Theater|
|31. Rolando S. Tinio (++)||1997||Theater & Literature|
|32. Levi Celerio (+)||1997||Music & Literature|
|33. N.V.M. Gonzales (++)||1997||Literature|
|34. Arturo Luz||1997||Visual Arts|
|35. Jose Maceda (+)||1997||Music|
|36. Carlos Quirino (+)||1997||Historical Literature|
|37. J. Elizalde Navarro (++)||1999||Painting|
|38. Prof. Andrea Veneracion (+)||1999||Music|
|39. Edith L. Tiempo (+)||1999||Literature|
|40. Daisy Avellana (+)||1999||Theater|
|41. Ernani Cuenco (++)||1999||Music|
|42. F. Sionil Jose||2001||Literature|
|43. Ang Kiukok (+)||2001||Visual Arts|
|44. Ishmael Bernal (++)||2001||Film|
|45. Severino Montano (++)||2001||Theater|
|46. Jose T. Joya (++)||2003||Visual Arts (Painting)|
|47. Virgilio S. Almario||2003||Literature|
|48. Alejandro Roces (+)||2003||Literature|
|49. Eddie S. Romero (+)||2003||Film & Broadcast Arts|
|50. Salvador F. Bernal (+)||2003||Theater & Design|
|51. Ben Cabrera||2006||Visual Arts|
|52. Abdulmari Asia Imao||2006||Visual Arts|
|53. Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera||2006||Literature|
|54. Ramon Obusan (+)||2006||Dance|
|55. Fernando Poe Jr. (++)||2006||Film|
|56. Archt. Ildefonso Santos, Jr. (+)||2006||Landscape Architecture|
|57. Ramon Valera (++)||2006||Fashion Design|
|58. Manuel Conde* (++)||2009||Cinema|
|59. Lazaro A. Francisco* (++)||2009||Literature|
|60. Federico Aguilar Alcuaz* (+)||2009||Visual Arts|
|61. Alice Reyes||2014||Dance|
|62. Francisco V. Coching (++)||2014||Visual Arts|
|63. Cirilo F. Bautista||2014||Literature|
|64. Francisco F. Feliciano||2014||Music|
|65. Ramon P. Santos||2014||Music|
|66. Jose Maria V. Zaragoza (++)||2014||Architecture|