DBM releases P9.48 million to jumpstart MET conservation
To jumpstart the rehabilitation of the Manila Metropolitan Theater or MET, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released another P9.48 million intended for initial conservation work, the agency said on Sunday.
Last May, the DBM also released P270 million to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which allowed the latter to purchase the MET from the state-run pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and begin restoration of the decaying theater.
The money charged from the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts (Nefca) facilitated the NCCA’s purchase of the MET from the Government Service Insurance System. A tenth of the travel tax being collected by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority goes to Nefca.
The fresh release of P9.48 million will also be charged against the Nefca, which the DBM said is being treated as an automatic appropriation.
“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. 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,” Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” B. Abad said in a statement.
The latest fund release will cover mobilization expenses to clean the theater as well as establish security, the DBM said.
“Rehabilitating the MET will restore dignity to the ‘crown jewel of Manila theaters’ after years of neglect and disrepair. Bringing the MET into the modern age will also boost our country’s tourism industry, as the proper management of our cultural heritage will support the gains of our economic growth,” Abad said.
The Budget chief had noted that “[w]e cannot claim to pursue national development if we fail at preserving our culture and heritage.”
The earlier P270-million fund release would facilitate the creation of a conservation program for the MET to transform it into a performing arts hub as well as a tourist attraction.
“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,” according to the Budget chief.
The MET, which stands along Padre Burgos Avenue corner Arroceros Street in the city of Manila, was built in 1930 but has been closed since 2012. The Art Deco-style theater was designed by architect Juan Arellano, who was also the designer of the Manila Central Post Office Building as well as the Old Legislative Building, which is now the National Museum.
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