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Mindanao shines as Duterte confers ‘Manlilikha ng Bayan’ award to 3 weavers

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President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute to three Mindanaoan talents, conferring on them the “Manlilikha ng Bayan” or “National Living Treasure” awards for 2016.

The President, who was mayor of Davao City prior to assuming the presidency, issued Proclamation No. 126 on January 6, which named Yabing Masalon Dulo, Ambalang Ausalin, and Estelita Bantalan as this year’s awardees.

The three were chosen based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Dulo is a B’laan ikat weaver from Polomolok in South Cotabao who is recognized for safeguarding and promoting the ikat weaving tradition, while Ausalin is a Yakan tapestry weaver from Lamitan in Basilan who is recognized for the upholding and promotion of the Yakan tapestry weaving tradition. Bantilan is B’laan igem weaver from Malapatan in Saranggni who is recognized for promoting and keeping the mat weaving tradition alive.

The conferment of the “Manlilikha ng Bayan” or “National Living Treasure” award is provided under Republic Act No. 7355 that was passed in 1992 and is given to individuals or groups that engaged in traditional arts that is unique to Filipinos and whose distinctive skills has reached a high level of technical and artistic excellence.

The awardees are given a specially designed medallion or plaque, an initial grant of P100,000 and a P14,000 lifetime stipend per month upon conferment of award. They would also receive a maximum cumulative amount of P750, 000 worth of medical and hospitalization benefits as well as funeral assistance similar as those received by the National Artists.