President Duterte will proclaim new National Artists in a ceremony on Thursday.
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No 'La Aunor' on list of National Artist awardees
Alexis Romero ( - October 23, 2018 - 7:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Actress Nora Aunor will not be among the National Artists to be proclaimed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, the second time the movie icon has been excluded from the list of people given the honor. 

A media advisory sent by Malacañang on Tuesday showed that Aunor is not on the list of artists to be feted during the conferment ceremony of this year's National Artist Awards.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts project coordinator Sabrina Tan said Aunor had been automatically nominated because she was included in the previous shortlist of nominees. 

In 2014, President Benigno Aquino III said he removed Aunor from the list of awardees because of issues linking her to illegal drug use.

"Sa aking pananaw yung national artist binibigyan natin ng honor na ito, puri na ito ay malaki ang ambag sa lahing Pilipino at dapat tularan (In my opinion, the national artist is an honor given to Filipinos who can become role models)," Aquino said in a press conference in Pampanga on July 1, 2014. 

"Ang naging problema ko lang dun ay alam naman natin lahat…na-convict po sya sa drugs (My only problem is we all know she was convicted for using illegal drugs)," he added. 

Claire Espina, the lawyer who handled Aunor's case in California, had denied that the actress had been convicted. 

Malacañang has not issued a statement on why Duterte, who is known for his tough stance on narcotics, excluded Aunor from the list of awardees. 

The new batch of National Artists is composed of Francisco Mañosa (architecture), Eric de Guia also known as "Kidlat Tahimik" (film), Ramon Muzones and Resil Mojares (literature), Ryan Caybyab (music), Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio (theater) and Lauro “Larry” Alcala (visual arts). 

Duterte will also confer the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Award to Ambalang Ausalin, Estelita Bantilan and Yabing Masalon-Dulo.

Also to be feted are Rizal Park Hotel (Adaptive Reuse Awardee), local government of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte (Heritage Education and Interpretation Awardee), local government of Angeles City (Heritage Program Support Awardee), and local government of Magalang, Pampanga (Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage Awardee).

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