The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) wants to reach a wider audience—so, they chose celebrity-ambassadors.
In an interview with Yahoo! Philippines OMG, the Commission’s public affairs head Rene Napeñas said, “We have our artistic teams in the commission which decide the ambassadors basically to profile or highlight our various celebrations.”
He added, “We didn’t use artsy people to represent or be our ambassadors. We wanted some media magnet for this because they normally get attention.”
Among the chosen celebrity-ambassadors include TV host Boy Abunda (Philippine Arts Festival), Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (Dance), singers Sarah Geronimo (Music) and Ogie Alcasid (Heritage), TV heartthrobs Piolo Pascual (Culture), Dingdong Dantes (Youth Ambassador for Philippine Arts Festival) and Jericho Rosales (Taoid), as well as beauty queens Shamcey Supsup (Architecture & Allied Arts) and Venus Raj (Dayaw).
In a Facebook post, the Commission said, “They are expected to advocate and stir everyone’s interest in our culture and the arts scene with many fun-filled, exciting, and educational activities particularly in the coming month-long Philippine Arts Festival in February 2014.”
But not all netizens favoured the decision of NCCA to choose celebrity-ambassadors.
Some were saying that these celebrities don’t have anything to do with the field of art assigned to them.
Napeñas, in response, defended the Commission’s decision, “Like for example for Philippine Arts Festival, we got Mr. Boy Abunda because of his ability to communicate to Filipinos from all over the globe. “
“We got Dingdong Dantes as our youth ambassador because of his wholesome image as an actor, producer, [and] director as well,” he continued.
He added, “For this year, 2013, Sarah Geronimo was given the Ani ng Awards during the Arts Month. Hopefully by next year, we will be able to really tap Sarah as our celebrity spokesperson to help us promote the National Arts Month as well.”
He also cleared that there was no money involved in tapping the celebrity-ambassadors. “These are all gratis. We never paid any of our ambassadors. Not even a single centavo,” he said.