Angara given top award for contributions to culture, arts
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:09 AM June 23, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—The National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has bestowed on outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara the “Dangal ng Haraya” award, the highest distinction the body gives to an individual or institution, for his “invaluable contributions” to Philippine arts and culture.
The NCCA cited Angara’s role as a “Patron of the Arts and Culture” (Tagapagtaguyod ng Sining at Kultura) for his initiatives as a four-time senator in bringing to the fore public awareness of the oft-ignored sector in a simple ceremony at the National Museum on Friday night.
The significance of the venue was not lost on those present since it was where the Senate session hall was housed when Angara headed the chamber in the 9th and 10th Congress.
Angara was recognized for authoring the laws establishing the NCCA, the National Museum, the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) and other cultural bodies.
He was also credited with establishing the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan, or the National Living Treasures Award, which is given to outstanding traditional folk artists.
Other landmark legislation in the arts and culture that Angara authored or sponsored were also mentioned, including the celebration of Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day on June 30 and the National Cultural Heritage Act, which established a policy framework for the classification and protection of national treasures.
Earlier this year, Angara was also awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, one of the highest honors the Japanese government bestows on foreigners, in rites presided over by Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace.
In addition to the NCCA, KWF and National Museum, officials of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Library, and National Archives presented Angara with tokens of appreciation.
In his response, Angara, former president of the University of the Philippines, recalled witnessing “much of the Philippines’ turbulent history in the past decades, especially when the government needed to revive a strong sense of nationhood and social cohesion.”
The senator said it was the “preservation of our heritage and the promotion of Filipino culture and arts” that eventually pushed the people’s “collective imaginations, our notions of nationhood, on things we can see, touch or hear such as with pieces of art, songs and stories.”
Angara’s son, Senator-elect Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, daughter-in-law Tootsy Echauz-Angara and their children Manolo, Ines and Javier stood by him as the senator received his citation from NCCA Chair Felipe M. de Leon Jr. and Executive Director Emelita V. Almosara.
The senator showed his lighter side, singing impromptu “Ngayon at Kailanman” with soprano Thea Prosia and tenor Ronan Ferrer during the testimonial dinner.
“In the five national campaigns I have undertaken, I never took to the stage to sing. It is only here that I took the opportunity to do so,” he joked. Cathy Yamsuan