The National Artist Award is a blessing from the Lord because the government’s honor through the proclamation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recognizes a lifelong vision of 50 years service for others through initiating and developing a National Theatre Movement that draws meaning and power from the lives and language of our people. I am delighted that the award officially underscores the significance of a theatre apostolate I have pursued since I was fifteen years old to dynamically apply the arts as a force for education; a peaceful weapon to fight poverty, pollution, terrorism and other social ills besetting our nation; a mirror to reflect and forge our cultural identity and appreciate the beauty and bounty of our habitat, heritage, history and language; a vehicle for social transformation; an engine for creative industry development; and a bridge for international understanding.
This award collectively belongs to all in theatre who have worked in this endeavor, particularly, my students, colleagues and partners in PETA, the Earthsavers, Balintataw, local governments, schools and NGO’s in our country and overseas who have made possible successful evident models in showcasing art as an essential ingredient for social justice and sustainable development.
Through the arts, my passion was to unleash the creativity of our people and to build our nation’s conscience of compassion, caring, sharing and healing to help discombobulate the culture of corruption, gossip and violence. The joy of this honor is shared not only by my family particularly my soulmate, Heherson Alvarez, father of my children, Hexilon and Herxilia; and our dear friends, but all those in my younger years, who have moulded and supported my commitment to public service through theatre particularly Father James Reuter. They gave their faith and love that steeled my determination to realize dreams inspite of difficulties, intrigues and petty rivalries
I, especially offer this recognition to my father Mauricio Guidote, a film producer turned guerilla captain who died before I was born. Longing for him as a child, my mother, a widowed nurse soothe my angst with this refrain: Don’t cry, your father died so you would be born free. He is my hero, though medal-less inspiring me to discover my own métier of service which is to defend his legacy of liberty by democratizing the right to culture through reaching out to vulnerable groups.
I thank all those from all parts of the country and our kababayans abroad as well as our allies in the International Theatre Institute, Climate Institute, Population Media Center, La MaMa, Ambassadors and some legislative leaders who have texted, called, emailed and written congratulatory notes, expressing their jubilation. I am grateful that simple people who have been touched by our artistic efforts, generously remember, with their words of appreciation.
It is unfortunate that our country is divided by politics. It is through arts that our people can be united. I pray that culture as the nourishing womb will eventually bond together our nation towards the betterment of our citizens.
Mabuhay ang lakas-likhaan sa tanghalan!
Sa mga tumutuligsa, bahala na ang Diyos sa kanila para maliwanagan.