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And the debate rages on. If you haven’t heard yet, this year’s inductees for the Order of National Artists include a few names that have raised not a few eyebrows.

2006 National Artist for Visual Arts Ben Cabrera, or Bencab, has this to say: I feel bad. It’s a mockery of the system. They might as well just appoint [their own choices] and not go through the whole process…I will not mention any names but we heard that there was one very influential person who helped manipulate the results.”

Since the time of President Ramos, Bencab says, it came to be understood that the President can add one name. This year, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo added four, including Carlo J Caparas for visual arts and film and Cecille Guidote-Alvarez, who is the Executive Director of NCCA.


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