Esteemed UE Alumnus Elected NCCA Chairman

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Dr. Virgilio Senadren Almario, NA, a UE alumnus and National Artist for Literature who is also the incumbent Chairman of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (or the Commission on the Filipino Language), has been elected as the new Chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts by the 15-member NCCA Board of Commissioners.

Dr. Almario’s new NCCA appointment comes not long after UE’s recent conferment upon him of the degree of Doctor of Literature, honoris causa, on September 20, 2016, at the Conference Hall in UE Manila. The conferment was a highlight of UE’s 70th Foundation Anniversary. Chairman Almario, NA is the 33rd recipient of an honorary UE degree in the University of the East’s 70-year history.

The NCCA term of Chairman Almario, NA, is from 2017 to 2019. He had been the NCCA Executive Director from 1998 to 2001.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts is composed of representatives from the legislative, executive and private sectors.

As indicated in Section 9 of Republic Act 7356, the law which created the Commission, the NCCA is mandated to (1) encourage the continuing and balanced development of a pluralistic culture by the people themselves; (2) conserve and promote the nation’s historical and cultural heritage; (3) ensure the widest dissemination of artistic and cultural products among the greatest number across the country and overseas for their appreciation and enjoyment…with the cooperation of all…concerned agencies, public and private; (4) preserve and integrate traditional culture and its various creative expressions as a dynamic part of the national cultural mainstream; and, (5) to ensure that standards of excellence are pursued in programs and activities implementing policies…stated, it shall encourage and support continuing discussion and debate, through symposia, workshops, publications, etc., on the highest norms available in the matrix of Philippine culture.

Also known for his pen name Rio Alma, Chairman Almario, NA, is a Filipino artist, poet, critic, translator, editor, teacher and cultural manager. Initially a high school teacher in his native Bulacan, Virgilio Almario began his poetry career in the early 1960s as a UE student, taking up subjects under the University’s Bachelor in Secondary Education and Master of Arts in Education courses and becoming the Filipino section editor-columnist of the Dawn, UE’s well-known student newspaper.

He is credited for spearheading the second successful modernist movement in Filipino poetry together with fellow UE alumni Rogelio Mangahas and Teo Antonio. Dr. Almario’s earliest literary criticism pieces were collected in the 1972 book Ang Makata sa Panahon ng Makina, which is now considered the first book of literary criticism in Filipino and the first of his many books to date.

Chairman Almario, NA, has received numerous awards, including several Palanca awards, two grand prizes from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Makata ng Taon of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award for Literature, and the Southeast Asia Write Award of Bangkok. He was proclaimed National Artist for Literature in 2003.

More details on this story can be found at the NCCA website: http://ncca.gov.ph/national-artist-rio-alma-new-ncca-chair/; http://ncca.gov.ph/republic-act-7356/.

Big congratulations, Warrior Alumnus, Dawner and National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, NA on being elected as the new Chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts!

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