We join our fellow artists in the condemnation of President Arroyo’s abuse of her so-called prerogatives and her utter disrespect for a selection process that has served the awards program well. During the term of President Aquino, that prerogative was already in place, but in contrast to President Arroyo, Cory had the grace and wisdom to entrust the selection to the legally appointed bodies. President Arroyo’s elimination of one legitimate nominee, and her insertion of four persons without the benefit of the rigor of standards, and scrutiny that the awards deserve have debased the National Artists Award.
The culture of insensitivity and disrespect for due process, spawned by eight years of absence of transparency and accountability of the Arroyo administration has finally reached our gates. Art is the last of the few independent refuges of freedom, and when this refuge is breached, all freedom is utterly lost.
As PETA members, we are encouraged to express our opinions as individuals. On this issue however, we have deliberated as a body to formulate this statement. The issue of the National Artists Award is a national issue.
We question the prudence of those who nominated Cecile Guidote-Alvarez to President Arroyo, those who decided to bypass the rules of the selection process. They knew full-well that any member of the two selection bodies, NCCA and CCP, cannot be nominated for this honor. Cecile Guidote-Alvarez is the Executive Director of the NCCA and yet they still pushed for her inclusion in the roster. Finally, President Arroyo, sanctioned this violation when she offered to elevate Cecile Guidote-Alvarez to the status of National Artist.
We have the highest respect for Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, and even to this very day, decades after she has left PETA, we still owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude as our founder and original guiding spirit.
It is precisely because of our respect, admiration and affection for her that we request her to decline the award at this time as it is sadly tainted. We believe that the award will be much more meaningful for her if it is granted the benefit of the rigorous scrutiny, and endorsement of her peers.
23 August 2009
Fast Break: PETA's Official Statement on the National Artist Issue
This is the official statement of PETA (Philippine Educational Theatre Association), the group founded by Guidote. After a long silence on the issue, the group finally released its stand on the controversial National Artist Award. Thanks Makoy Dakuykoy for the full text.