MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared eight icons of Filipino arts and culture as National Artists on Friday, June 10.
Screenwriter and novelist Ricky Lee, another film industry pillar, was named National Artist for Literature, alongside poet Gemino Abad.
Stage director and theater actor Tony Mabesa, who died in 2019, was named National Artist for Theater.
Choreographer Agnes Locsin, known for pioneering neo-ethnic dance, was named National Artist for Dance.
Legendary soprano Fides Cuyugan-Asensio was given the title National Artist for Music.
The late Salvacion Lim Higgins, known for reinventing the terno, was named National Artist for Fashion.
The Order of National Artists recognizes Filipinos who have made significant contributions to Philippine arts and letters. Previous honorees include composer Ryan Cayabyab, dancer Alice Reyes, actor Fernando Poe Jr, writer Bienvenido Lumbera, and architect Leandro Locsin.
National Artists are granted a number of privileges, including a cash award of P100,000 for living awardees and P75,000 for posthumous awardees, payable to their legal heirs.
They also receive a monthly life pension, medical and hospitalization benefits, life insurance coverage for those who are still insurable, a state funeral and burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, as well as a place of honor at national state functions and recognition at cultural events. – Rappler.com