Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has asked the new Senate leadership to honor the late National Artist for Literature Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista for his exceptional and valuable contributions to the evolution and shaping of Philippine literature.
De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 745 seeking to pay tribute to Bautista following his demise last May 6 at the age of 76.
“It is incumbent upon the Senate to give due recognition and importance to renowned and respected Filipino artists, it seeks to encourage and further promote the artistic and creative endeavours of the Filipinos, “she said.
“His [Bautista] passion in literature and the depth and breadth of his themes, have certainly influenced generations of Filipino writers and have instilled among our people nationalism and devotion to our culture and arts,” she added.
In 2014, then President Benigno Aquino III conferred upon Bautista, by virtue of Proclamation No. 209, the title “National Artist for Literature” for his great contributions in literature.
With his admirable sense of commitment towards literature, De Lima said Bautista became a multi-awarded writer garnering nine Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, for essay, fiction, poetry in both English and Filipino and a Gawad Balagtas Award by the Writer’s Union of the Philippines, as well as a Pablo Ramon Prize for his novel.
“Some of his prominent works were not only published in the country but also appeared in major literary journals, magazine and papers worldwide,” De Lima shared.
Among Bautista’s exemplary works, De Lima listed, include “Summer Suns” (1963), “The Cave and Other Poems” (1968), “Words and Battlefields: A Theoria on the Poem” (1998), “The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus” (2001), “Sunlight on Broken Stones” (2000), and “Galaw ng Asoge” (2004).
De Lima further noted that Bautista was one of the pillars of several influential organizations and groups including the Philippine Literacy Council, Philippine Center of International PEN, the Philippine Writers Academy, Manila Critics Center and Baguio Writers Group.
Aside from his laudable talent as an essayist, fictionist and prolific poet, De Lima shared that Bautista was also a notable painter and a dedicated educator as well, having shared his knowledge, inspired young writers and taught in Saint Louis University (SLU) for five years and in De La Salle University (DLSU) for 33 years.
Born in Sampaloc, Manila, Bautista graduated Magna Cum Laude in Bachelor of Arts Literature at the University of Sto. Tomas in 1963, and later continued his Master’s Degree in SLU where he likewise graduated as a Magna Cum Laude in 1968, and then took a Doctorate in Language and Literature in DLSU in 1990.
To date, he remains to be the only Filipino to have been given an honorary degree from the esteemed International Program at the University of Iowa.