The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P9.48 million to cover the initial conservation work on the Manila Metropolitan Theater (MET).
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) purchased the historic theater from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) with a P270-million fund release made available by the budget agency.
“The Aquino Administration had made the first step in purchasing this iconic landmark from GSIS, and now the NCCA can begin the worthy task of restoring the MET to its former glory,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.
“Ultimately, funding the MET’s rehabilitation will not only preserve a piece of history from our country’s storied past. It is also a cultural investment for future generations of Filipinos,” Abad said.
The amount of P9.48 million is a special budget release that will be charged against the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts (NEFCA).
The latter represents the NCCA’s 10-percent share from the travel tax collected by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority) and is treated as an Automatic Appropriation.
The release will fund the conservation efforts to rehabilitate the theater, which includes the mobilization expenses for the physical cleaning as well as the establishment of security.
“Rehabilitating the MET will restore dignity to the Crown Jewel of Manila Theaters after years of neglect and disrepair,” Abad said.
He added that bringing the MET into the modern age will also boost our country’s tourism industry, as the proper management of the country’s cultural heritage will support the gains of our economic growth.
Designed by architect Juan Arellano and opened in 1931, the MET was constructed in the Art Deco style. It had undergone restoration and rehabilitation several times through the years, especially in the wake of the damage it incurred after World War II.
Despite being a National Cultural Treasure, it had been closed due to the theater’s state of decay and issues with regard to its ownership since 2012.