Press Release
September 28, 2022

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa

(2022 National Artist Awardees)
September 28, 2022

Mr. President, it is my honor to stand and co-sponsor Senate Resolution Nos. 16, 22, and 152, commending the 2022 Order of National Artists Awardees for their outstanding contributions to the development and promotion of Philippine Arts and Culture.

Many of us, whether or not we are aware of it, have been changed by art. I have met and been influenced by so many artists in the course of my life as a public servant. Naging bahagi rin ako ng theater arts noong nasa PMA ako. Sa ngayon, ako po at ang aking pamilya ay mga taga-suporta ng sining.

Artists such as Mindanawon sculptor Kublai Millan, Davao-based designer Edgar Buyan, and digital artist Franc Almirañez are only some of those whom I and my family have had the privilege of knowing. It is such a huge blessing for us to see, wear, and appreciate their work. Ang aking mga anak din, they are into art, lalo na 'yung aking pangalawang anak. There are paintings she has on display in her home that are her original works.

I, for one, understand that art, and artists, are essential to a culture. They give us a new perspective, they help us to see beauty in the most unexpected circumstances, and they lead us to realize the power of a paintbrush, a written word, or even a movement in a dance.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a time of lockdowns, when safety meant being away, and sometimes even staying away. The suffering, then, was caused by the sickness, but it was also aggravated by the isolation.

One might ask, Mr. President, how did we survive? How did we manage to live through it all? Many of us sought comfort in music, TV shows, books, and films. It is true therefore, what they say: in the time of the pandemic, we turned to art. We turned to art for solace, and solace is what we found.

Kung kaya, malaki ang ating pasasalamat sa ating 2022 National Artists, sina Nora Aunor, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, Ricky Lee, Agnes Locsin, Gemino Abad, Salvacion Lim-Higgins, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, at Antonio "Tony" Mabesa.

We thank them, not only for the valuable contributions they have made to keep alive Philippine arts and culture. We thank them, more importantly, because through their work, Filipinos are placed in a better position to understand beauty in all forms. Through their work, we are given the chance, not just to hope for a better world, but to actually contribute to its making.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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