Weeks after being appointed as of one of National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Goodwill Ambassadors, Dingdong Dantes reacted on the controversy, involving netizens’ disagreement over NCCA’s decision.
In a text message to PEP, he said, “We are all ambassadors of who we are and what we represent. Like for me, I am proud to represent my family name, my country, my industry, my network, and the youth.”
He added, “Whether I am cited, recognized, patronized or not, I will continue to strive to represent and be a better version of myself. In this case, it does not mean that we are the best at what we do. I humbly think that no one can ever be best without the help of one another. In this situation, in our beloved rich culture, I hope for us to all just help each other in enriching what I believe is a very precious wealth of our country.”
Dantes, who was also chosen as NCCA ambassador for the Youth in 2009, thanked NCCA for choosing him again.
The announcement was first posted on Nov. 3 on the Facebook page of the Philippine Arts Festival (PAF), an NCCA project.
The post read: “The ambassadors 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.”
Some netizens commented that the decision is “populist” and “self-serving.”
Meanwhile, Rene Napenas, head of the NCCA’s public affairs and information office, in an interview with GMA news said that the celebrities were not meant to represent a specific art form; instead, they will serve as celebrity spokespersons.
Aside from Dantes, other chosen celebrity ambassadors include Boy Abunda (Philippine Arts Festival), Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez (Dance), Sarah Geronimo (Music), Shamcey Supsup (Architecture & Allied Arts), Ogie Alcasid (Heritage), Piolo Pascual (Culture), Venus Raj (Dayaw: An event highlighting Filipino indigenous cultures), and Jericho Rosales (Taoid (NCCA’s National Heritage Month).
In a post on its Facebook Page, the PAF addressed the netizens’ reactions, “We hear you all, and we’ll do something about this. Rest assured that your comments will not go in vain. The Philippine Arts Festival is for the people and we, the PAF Secretariat, will make sure that your suggestions and reactions will be heard by the committees.”