Monday, December 21, 2015

Aunor’s achievements

Aunor’s achievements

When one is vested with power to decide like the President but styles himself as self-righteous, most likely he will confer the award to one he believes to be immaculately clean.  Such is the gist of the statement issued by Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office. In reacting to the howl of protests over the inexplicable exclusion of multi-awardee actress Nora Aunor, Coloma said President Noynoy Aquino has the final word on who should be conferred the National Artist Award. Such a serious breach in selecting who deserves to be given the prestigious award was bound to happen because the criteria used by PNoy have nothing to do with what Ms. Aunor has achieved. Rather, it has to do with whether she is morally  upright to be given such an award. Accordingly our national artists must have a clean record.

On that basis, one could well judge that PNoy is wholly ignorant that the privilege given him to select Filipinos to the pantheon of our national artists is merely an honor by virtue of his position, and not that he himself has achieved something exceptional to our people and country.   Bluntly stated, he simply does not know what he was supposed to do.   
If one has to be more critical about the giving of the coveted title, it should not be a giving of award, but recognizing an achievement made by Filipinos for their country.   Recognition to what they achieved is most appropriate because it conveys a sense of national gratitude by a Motherland for its people who continue to carve for us our sense of excellence.    It is for this why the abrupt insertion by Malacañang of morality as an added criterion was rather off-tangent. This is not a ceremony on how one has behaved, but on what one has achieved for his country.
In objecting to that criterion, film director Joel Lamangan said, “morality is not part of the criteria; it’s the body of work that matters.”  He added, it is “not with whom an artist sleeps with, not what he or she smokes and drinks.  What should be considered is the uniqueness and excellence of an artist’s work.”  Rather, in the usual Malacañang stance of pretending to be honest, PNoy was trapped in his own silly game of hypocrisy because the honor given him to  decide who should be our national artists is by virtue  of his being  “elected” by the people—of which the only qualification is he is a natural born citizen, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on the day of the election, and must have been a resident of the country for at least 10 years immediately preceding such election. 
The qualifications do not say anything about the moral conduct of the presidential candidate like having been arrested for possession of illegal drugs or what the candidate has achieved or has accomplished, except that he was voted by the people.  It is for this why PNoy cannot be holier-than-thou by imposing a his own puritanical  criteria. He can neither claim to be morally clean or much more could present his own achievement other than being elected President.  In fact, had it not been for the outpouring of sympathy upon the death of his mother, using it as his political capital just as his mother did to capitalize on the assassination of her husband by pointing the blame on Marcos, there would have been no two Aquinos capturing political power.
On the other hand, the woman he excluded from the list has more than enough credentials to deserve recognition. She won numerous FAMAS best actress awards: in 1977 in the movie Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos; 1980 in Ina ka ng Anak Mo; 1985 in Bulaklak sa City Jail; 1990 in Bilangin  ang mga Bituin sa Langit; 1991 in Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina?; 1992, she won the Best Actress Hall of Fame; 1996 won the Circle of Excellence in that movie The Flor Contemplacion Story; 2011 won the Lifetime Achievement Award; and, 2013 won the Presidential Award  for Cinematic Arts Excellence in the movie Thy Womb.  Ms. Aunor was nominated in the FAMAS awards as Best Actress for 15 straight years from 1973 to 1987.
In the Gawad Urian awards, she won in 1977 in the movie Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos; in 1981 in Bona; in 1990 in Bilangin ang mga Bituin sa Langit as Best Actress; in 1991 as Best Actress of the Decade; in 1991 in Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina?; in 1996 in The Flor Contemplacion Story; in 1997 in Bakit May Kahapon Pa? as Best Actress; 2001 as Best Actress of the Decade; and in 2013 in Thy Womb as Best Actress. Ms. Aunor was nominated 18 times as best actress aside from the first to receive the Best Actress Award.
In the Film Academy of the Philippines Ms. Aunor won five times as Best Actress including the Lifetime Achievement Award; seven times in the Star Awards for Movies of the Philippine Movie press Club;   and twice in the Golden Screen Awards (Enpress).  In the Metro Manila Film Festival, she won in  1978 as Best Performer, in  1979, in 1982, in 1984, 1990 1990, in 1991 as Best Actress , in 1992  awarded the Gawad ng Natatanging Pagkilala; 1995 as Best Actress, 1996, awarded the Plaque of Recognition for Winning in the Cairo Film Fest; and in, 2012 won the Best Actress.
What is disturbing is that most of her admirers could sense discrimination.   While nobody wants to brush aside the achievements of those that were chosen by PNoy, their names however do not ring a bell to many of our people.  Of course, Malacañang will argue the awarding is not based on popularity contest.  Nonetheless, even if we take it that Ms. Aunor is more  popular compared to Ramon Santos who was awarded for music;  Cirilo F. Bautista for writing; Alice Reus for dance; Francisco Feliciano for composition; Francisco Coching for comic illustrations; and Jose Maria Zaragoza  for architecture, the achievements and accomplishments of Ms. Aunor cannot be treated less important. 
Rather, what happened was an attempt to justify her exclusion.  As filmmaker Jose Javier Reyes would put it, “PNoy probably had in mind he was about to canonize people for  sainthood, and not of choosing who should be our national artists.”   In that, we could well digress that Malacañang prejudged  and condemned Ms. Aunor for her alleged past immoral conduct thinking that it would stop the clamor to elevate her as our national artist.

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