Erap wants to reclaim Met Theater
Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada vowed yesterday to reclaim the Metropolitan Theater (MET) from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Estrada said he has allotted P200 million to reacquire the MET, known as the Grand Old Dame of Philippine theaters.

The city council of Manila had appropriated P230 million to acquire the theater from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). But the NCCA managed to snag it by topping the local government’s offer with an additional P206 million.

Estrada said he wants to make the MET the country’s center of zarzuela, vaudeville and other theater plays.

“I wanted to reclaim the MET ever since I became Manila mayor. As soon as we can put the theater into operation again, it will benefit not only the students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila but also of other schools,” he said. 

Since the Manila government has funds to bankroll the MET’s rehabilitation, Estrada said he is hopeful there would be a way to return the theater to the city.

“Originally, the MET was owned by the city. Hopefully, we can get it back so we can use it for cultural purposes,” he said.

Estrada said they would explore all avenues, including the filing of a petition before the court to reclaim the MET.

He said the theater was donated by former mayor Ramon Bagatsing to the Metro Manila Commission then chaired by Imelda Marcos without the approval of the city council.

Citing a 2004 tripartite usufruct agreement signed by Manila, NCCA and the GSIS, which gave the city the right to use the theater for arts and cultural purposes for 25 years, Estrada said the city government still has a say in the restoration and operation of the MET despite its sale to the NCCA.

Built in 1931, the MET is located at the Mehan Garden at the corner of Padre Burgos Avenue and Arroceros street.

It was designed in art deco by National Artist for Architecture Juan Arellano. Murals by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo adorned its walls.

The structure was declared a national historical landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 1973.

ACIRC ARCHITECTURE JUAN ARELLANO CULTURE AND THE ARTS GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM GRAND OLD DAME OF PHILIPPINE IMELDA MARCOS MANILA MAYOR JOSEPH ESTRADA MEHAN GARDEN MET METRO MANILA COMMISSION METROPOLITAN THEATER
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