New National Artists declared
Six individuals were elevated to the pinnacle of artistic glory as President Benigno S. Aquino III declared them National Artists of the Philippines in their respective fields, Malacanang announced.
They are Cirilo Bautista (Literature), Alice Reyes (Dance), Francisco Feliciano (Music), Ramon Santos (Music), Francisco Coching (Visual Arts), and Jose Maria Zaragoza (Architecture, Design, and Allied Arts).
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the declaration was made by virtue of Proclamation Nos. 807, 808, 809, 810, 811, and 812 signed and issued by President Aquino on Friday June 20, 2014.
The Order of National Artists was established under Proclamation No. 1001, s. 1972 to give appropriate recognition and prestige to Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine Arts and Letters.
It is the highest state honor conferred on individuals deemed as having done much for their artistic field as recommended by both the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Cirilo Bautista is a multi-awarded poet, fictionist, critic, and essayist whose body of works includes Boneyard Breaking, Sugat ng Salita, The Archipelago, among others that has received various accolades from both here and abroad.
Alice Reyes is a dancer and choreographer who founded Ballet Philippines in 1969, which is widely recognized today as a cornerstone of the Filipino cultural identity and is known globally as the country’s flagship company in ballet and contemporary dance.
Francisco Feliciano is one of the country’s most important composers and one of Asia’s leading figures in liturgical music who has created more than 30 major works that include operas and music dramas and hundreds of liturgical pieces, mass settings, hymns, and songs for worship.
Ramon Santos is a world-renowned Filipino composer whose works have been performed in major music festivals around the world. He has also done extensive studies in Philippine traditional music and Southeast Asian and Southern China music.
Francisco V. Coching was an illustrator and writer regarded by many as one of the pillars of the Philippine comic book industry. He was the man behind popular comic book characters Pedro Penduko and Hagibis that graced the pages of Liwayway magazine.
Jose Maria Zaragoza was considered a major figure in the architectural development of the Philippines. Among the places he designed were the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, St. John Bosco Parish Church in Makati, and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Posadas Village, Muntinlupa.
The Communications Secretary said President Aquino will confer the Order of the National Artist on these individuals in an appropriate ceremony in Malacanang. The artist's Francisco V. Coching and Jose Maria Zaragoza will both be awarded posthumously. PND (hdc)
Malacanang says government continues efforts to curb trafficking in persons
Malacanang on Saturday said the government would further strengthen its efforts to combat human trafficking after the country retained its Tier 2 status in the United States’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.
In an interview with the state-owned radio station dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the TIP Report cited the country’s gains in curbing human trafficking and the areas that need to improve.
“… nakalagay din po ang mga magagandang hakbangin na ginawa ng ating pamahalaan para naman ma-maintain ‘yung dating level na Tier 2 po tayo; at pangalawa, kung ano pa ang ating mga kailangang gawin,” Valte said, referring to the said report.
The report released on June 20, the Philippines remained at Tier 2 on the State Department’s three tier ranking system.
The TIP report noted that the Philippines made significant efforts to combat trafficking. It, however, noted that the government does not yet fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
In the radio interview, Valte noted the efforts of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, headed by the Department of Justice, to keep the country’s Tier 2 status, such as the additional prosecutors assigned to handle trafficking cases.
“In fact, from last year, ‘yung 21 convictions, tumaas na po for this particular year, naging 31 convictions na po ito, at mas marami na ang mga kasong nakararating sa korte kesa po noong nakaraang taon,” she said.
“Of course, gusto po nating…mas paigtingin pa ang ating mga ginagawa para naman ho mapababa ‘yung numero ng mga kababaihan at mga bata, at kalalakihan din na nagiging biktima ng trafficking in persons,” Valte said.
“At gusto po nating tumaas ‘yung ating mga convictions pagdating naman doon sa mga dumadaan na sa paglilitis para sa kanilang pagkakasala,” the deputy spokesperson added.
Valte said the Department of Social Welfare and Development continued to operate 26 temporary shelters for victims of abuse. The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), on the other hand, has been conducting pre-employment seminars for overseas Filipino workers.
“Kasama na dito siyempre ‘yung arming them with the information na kailangan bago sila umalis, nagkakaroon po tayo ng pre-employment orientation seminar,” she said.
Valte also noted that the POEA and the Department of Labor and Employment also conduct training sessions in combating trafficking and illegal recruitment.
“At patuloy ho ang pagtanggap at pag-imbestiga ng POEA sa mga alegasyon ng mga unlawful practices via recruitment agencies. In fact, nag-revoke po sila ng lisensiya ng 294 agencies. Nagsuspinde pa sila ng operations ng 109 agencies at permanente na pong pinasara ‘yung walong ahensiya for illegal practices,” she said. PND (co)