It’s Noranians vs Vilmanians one more timeBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Noranians among the Catholic prelates, show of hands please.
If Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes had his way, actress Nora Aunor would be declared national artist pronto.
Bastes, a member of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), threw his support behind moves in Congress to name Aunor, called “Superstar” by fans, as a national artist.
The bishop said her perceived show biz rival, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and “Star for All Seasons,” can follow “years later.”
“I select and endorse Nora as national artist now,” Bastes said in a text message.
He said the time was ripe for the country to recognize Aunor for her contributions to Philippine cinema, particularly for her portrayal of a religious visionary in the late National Artist Ishmael Bernal’s classic 1982 film “Himala.”
The film won the Viewers Choice Award for the Best Film of All Time from the Asia Pacific Region in the 2008 CNN Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
“She’s really good. I like her performance in ‘Himala,’” Bastes said.
But two other members of the CBCP said Aunor and Santos should be named national artists at the same time.
“Honor them both. They represent the divide between the Filipino crowd. The bakya (wooden clogs) and the sapatos (shoes) crowds,” said Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon, signifying the public’s social status.
Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros agreed with Cenzon and said that both artists deserved being named national artists.
The government bestows the title of national artist on those who made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts.
“Both can be made national artist. Perhaps, this will not require an act of Congress. An executive order would do should President Aquino agree to it,” Oliveros said.
Other bishops, however, declined to give their views on whether Aunor or Santos should be named national artist first.
“[That’s] not my line,” said Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez.
His sentiment was echoed by retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz and Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.
A rivalry also divides the House of Representatives, with Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada earlier urging the government to name Santos as national artist after Bacolod City Rep. Anthony Golez filed a resolution saying that Aunor deserved to have the title.
Tañada said Santos should also be named national artist for her contributions to the country’s film industry.
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