Dolphy To Receive 1st People’s Artist Award; NCCA’s Dangal Ng Haraya Award To Follow?

MANILA, Philippines - Though a National Artist award for Dolphy is still unsure, the late Comedy King will receive the first People's Artist Award.

Singer Anthony Castelo, chairman and president of Dakilang Lahi Foundation, revealed in live interview on "Unang Hirit" on Thursday that the award will be given to Dolphy's family by former President Joseph Estrada either on July 12 or July 13.

Castelo said the veteran comedian and his family were informed "in advance" about this said award, sometime last week to be exact.

"Kaya nakadate ito ng July 11 eh assuming na buhay pa siya, ibibigay sana namin ito kahapon," said he.

Dolphy passed away on July 11 due to multiple-organ failureAccording to Castelo, Dolphy was happy upon learning of the award.

"Nagii-smile daw si Dolphy nung binubulong ni Junior [Rodolfo Quizon Jr.] na darating si Presidente [Estrada at bibibgyan siya ng People's Artist award na mula sa industriya natin at mula sa puso ng mamayang Pilipino," Castelo related.

Seemingly scoring the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) over the delay in Dolphy's nomination as National Artist, Castelo said, "Kahit na ipinagkait sa kanya 'yung National Artist award, sabi nga ni Presidente Estrada, kung meron pang mas mataas na award ay 'yun ang dapat na ibigay kay Dolphy."

The eagle on the People's Artist Award trophy symbolizes "[ang] mataas na tugatog ng tagumpay na naabot ni Dolphy pero hindi niya nakalimutan na bumaba sa lupa, sa kanyang pinanggalingan," Castelo said.

Meanwhile, NCCA chairman Felipe De Leon Jr. has again addressed the clamor for Dolphy to be named National Artist. Recall that 2012 marks another year for the committee to select a handful of exemplary individuals who have made significant contribution to the development of Philippine arts.

"Oo naman malaki ang chances niya pagkat, sabi ko nga, 'yung kiliti ng Pilipino nahuli niya," said de Leon in a separate "UH" report.

As much as they want to hasten the process of selecting National Artists, de Leon explained that the lack of sufficient budget plus the bulk of nominees that comes in every nominating season burdens their organization immensely, hence, the delay.

"Ayan nga ang problema no. Kung minsan, namamatay na muna bago mabigay ang award kasi mabagal talaga ang proseso eh," said he. According to him, the conferment of a new National Artist usually takes around two years, at the very least.

While the whole nation awaits the selection, de Leon suggested that the multi-platform comedian is probably suited for a "Dangal ng Haraya" award that is the highest recognition given by NCCA.

"Dahil kuhang-kuha niya ang kalooban ng Pilipino, he's more than a National Artist, he's really a National Treasure," enthused de Leon.

To cement de Leon's claims, the NCCA, via an official statement released on their official Twitter account, maintained that while they "recognize and appreciate" Dolphy's artistic contributions in the country through his sense humor, and the clamor for his nomination, they intend to stand firm with their earlier decision, which is for him to "go through the process of selection, which we have earlier explained to the public."

However, NCCA reiterated that they join the nation in praying for the soul of Dolphy, whom they called a "true gem of the film and television industry."

Castelo isn't happy with NCCA's stand.

"Alam niyo National Artist committee aanhin mo pa ang damo kung wala na ang kabayo? Sorr, pero wala ng halaga. Dapat ibinigay ninyo 'yan nong buhay pa si Dolphy, ng maramdaman niya ang pagmamahal ng pamahalaan," he said.