PHILIPPINE theater pillar and UST alumna Zeneida “Bibot” Amador was honored posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Merit Award (PMMA) last Feb. 22 at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañang Palace.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Cecille Guidote-Alvarez, executive director of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, said the award was in recognition of Amador’s contributions to Philippine theater.

“(Zeneida Amador) suddenly died, and we wanted to have her work appreciated because she is outstanding,” Guidote-Alvarez said. “(The award was) able to promote central attention to (Amador’s) work and talent, particularly in raising the standard in theater in the country.”

Amador, who died of lung cancer last November, founded Repertory Philippines (Rep) as president and artistic director in 1967.

The ‘Rep’ founder, who obtained her undergraduate and graduate degree in Literature from UST, trained theater hopefuls like Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson of Miss Saigon fame.

Renowned composer George Canseco, best known for his songs “Ikaw,” “Ngayon at Kailanman,” and “Paano Ba ang Mangarap,” was also given the posthumous award. He died of liver cancer last November.

The PMMA, established in 1947, is given to Filipinos, foreigners, or organizations for service to the President or for achievements that give honor to the country.

According to Guidote-Alvarez, the PMMA recognizes notable contributions not only in the arts, but in other disciplines as well.

“The PMMA is a state award not just in the arts,” she said. “It recognizes contributions of people where the note of excellence is evident, where the development of the area of discipline is huge, and which have contributed to international appreciation.”

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