MANILA, Philippines - An online petition calling on the government to declare the late comedian Rodolfo "Dolphy" Quizon as National Artist is now gaining ground.
A group of overseas Filipinos called 'Definitely Filipino' posted a petition in the website Change.org that seeks to award the country's highest distinction for artists to the late Comedy King.
Since the petition was posted after Dolphy's death, it has already garnered 1,495 signatures. Signatures have come from various part of the world.
"This petition serves as a documentation of the public's support for Dolphy in this time of mourning and recognition of his contribution in Philippine cinema and television and in the lives of countless Filipinos," said in the petition.
Dolphy starred in more than 200 films in his 66-year career. He has received 21 recognitions in his career, with the most recent and special being the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart, the highest award given to a private citizen by the president.
The petition is addressed to President Benigno Aquino III, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) chairman Felipe de Leon Jr., and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) chairperson Emily Abrera.
It is stated in the petition that it supports the resolutions filed by the City of Manila and in the Senate by Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito-Estrada, both asking the President to declare Dolphy as National Artist in this year's selection process.
Dolphy died on July 10 due to multiple organ failure brought by complications from pneumonia and other diseases. He would have turned 84 on July 25.
Even before Dolphy's death, calls to give him the National Artist award has already surfaced. In Facebook, partylist group AkapBata has initiated an 'online petition' with the same goal while he was still at the hospital.
The petition aims to have Dolphy declared as a National Artist before his birthday on July 25. "We are all hoping that he would still be alive at that time and that his current severe life threatening medical condition would be favorably resolved," said in the petition.
The group added that if Dolphy is not given the award, they would declare him "Filipino People's Artist or Artist of the Filipino People."
The Facebook page already has 2,475 "signatories".
The National Artist award is given every three years. Dolphy has already been included in the list of the nominees for National Artists in 2009, however he did not pass the second deliberation of the screening committee that time.
President Aquino has earlier expressed that Dolphy is deserving of the award. Also, an NCCA officer has expressed the possibility that the late comedian could receive the award next year.
The National Artist award would be, if ever, the second posthumous award to be bestowed to the late comedian.
Dolphy was awarded the 'People's Artist Award' by the Dakilang Lahi Foundation during his wake on Saturday, July 14. Former president and Dolphy's friend Joseph Estrada presented the award to the Quizon family.
The award recognizes the many contributions of the late comedian to the movie industry. - Rappler.com