EFFORTS to revive the long-neglected Manila Metropolitan Theater (MET) are underway, beginning with the infusion of P270 million for repair works.
Malacañang said the MET management will be transferred from the Government Insurance System (GSIS) to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The money will be used to procure the MET from the GSIS.
Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said the initial funding signals a new lease on life for the antiquated building, which is considered a national cultural treasure.
“The MET was once a testament to the richness of Philippine culture and artistry, but decades of neglect brought this beautiful landmark into serious disrepair. The Aquino administration, through the NCCA, has taken the first step to restoring the MET to its former glory. It will take some time, but we are confident that the NCCA has the capacity to take on such a formidable task,” Abad said.
“We cannot claim to pursue national development if we fail at preserving our culture and heritage,” he added.
The MET was designed by architect Juan Arellano and was opened in 1931. Arellano was known for his work with Manila City’s Central Post Office Building and the National Museum—in the Art Deco style.
The building, which stands at a busy road near Plaza Lawton in Manila, was partially damaged in World War II and had been restored and rehabilitated several times. It has been closed since 2012 due to the theater’s state of decay and issues
Abad said the P270 million will be charged against the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts (NEFCA). The latter represents the 10-percent share of the travel tax collected by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA, formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority).
The initial release of funds will allow the NCCA to create an appropriate conservation program for the theater complex and ensure its future use in the development of the country’s performing arts.
“Aside from supporting the arts, the restoration of the MET also serves the dual purpose of boosting our country’s tourism. That’s why the appropriate budgetary support for agencies like the NCCA or to local governments is important as this empowers them to act on their high-priority or urgent projects,” Abad said.