MANILA -- The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) should give back the Manila Metropolitan Theater to the city government after it failed to revive one of the country’s oldest theaters, Mayor Isko Moreno said Thursday.
The 88-year-old theater was obtained by the government-controlled insurance firm in 1996, but sold the property to the NCCA in 2015.
The government spent some P270 million to rehabilitate the worn-out theater, former Budget Sec. Florencio “Butch” Abad earlier said, but 4 years since, the Art Deco building -- marred by informal settlers -- has yet to reopen its doors to the public.
“Kung hindi niyo rin naman kayang ayusin, i-maintain, ibigay niyo na lang samin, ime-maintain namin,” Moreno told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference.
“Let's be honest: 100 taon na ang Philippine cinema... The fact remains, bulok pa din ang Metropolitan Theater,” he said.
Moreno said “it doesn’t matter” if the theater would be given back to the Manila government for free or at a cost.
“It doesn't matter if they ask money from us or libre,” he said. “From one pocket of the government lang 'yan to another. Wala namang kikitang private individual.”
Should the Met be returned to the city government, it will be used as a venue for cultural shows as Moreno’s administration continues to invest in the capital city’s heritage and tradition.
Plays, vaudeville and movies with lessons will be featured in the Met, said Moreno, a former actor.
“We will think of something to revive it, with the help of our friends in showbiz,” he said.
“O kaya sasayaw ako,” he added, laughing.
Moreno’s administration has been pushing to revive Old Manila and the capital’s once-famous tourism and entertainment districts.
“Totoong madumi at dugyot ang Maynila, but our heritage and our history is something others cannot take away from this city,” he said. “I will invest on that.”