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MANILA, Philippines - The National Commission for Culture and the Arts does not have room or precedent to make "humanitarian consideration" its basis for fast-tracking the process of bestowing upon Dolphy the National Artist Award, NCCA planning officer Frances Alincastre said in an interview with Radyo Singko's Todo Balita on Monday.
According Alincastre, the commission follows a strict process on deciding who should get the prestigious award and thus it cannot hastily act on the public clamor to have the ailing 83-year-old King of Comedy declared a National Artist.
"Hindi po nawawala sa atin 'yong naiambag niya (Dolphy)... (pero) po kailangan naman nating i-follow 'yong proseso kasi wala naman pong nangyari na nagbigay kami ng award through humanitarian... Basta sa amin po kasi, we have to follow 'yong proseso," she said.
[We cannot discount his (Dolphy) contributions but we must follow the process. We have never given awards for humanitarian reasons. We have to follow the process.]
Alincastre also stressed that there is no "delay" in granting of the National Artist title to Dolphy, as this year's nomination process has yet to actually start.
The NCCA is now in the process of reviewing its guidelines for the upcoming nominations, which is expected to open in July or August, Alincastre said.
Dolphy was among the nominees for national artist in 2009. He will be included in the upcoming list of nominees.
The undisputed King of Philippine Comedy already has endorsements from Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Paranaque City Rep. Edwin Olivarez and the City Council of Manila.
"We received all of the endorsements. In fact, upon the opening of the nominations, he [Dolphy] will already be considered as one of the nominees. Also, we will not require credentials for his achievements. However, it [his nomination] will still undergo the process," Alincastre said in Filipino.
The NCCA and the Cultural Center of the Philippines jointly administer the Order of the National Artist Awards, which is conferred every three years by the President on Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to Philippine arts and culture.
Aside from the honorary title, a National Artist also receives benefits comparable in value to those received by the highest government officers of the land.
Since news broke about Dolphy's critical health condition early this month, various personalities and sectors have pushed for the immediate conferment of the National Artist title on the revered actor.
In the meantime, the NCCA is extending its prayers for Dolphy's recovery. "Sana nga po madugtungan pa ang buhay niya [We hope that he will live longer]," Alincastre said. - with Romsanne R. Ortiguero