[ Manila Bulletin Online ] February 28, 2009
President Arroyo yesterday ordered authorities to speed up restoration of majestic Manila Metropolitan Theater for its soft opening this coming June.
The President inspected the heritage landmark in Manila, currently undergoing an initial R50 million rehabilitation to return to its original state of glory, and gave new deadline to National Commission for Culture and Arts.
"The revival of the Met is being fast tracked because of the directive of the President to really rebuild this people’s theater and make it accessible immediately," NCCA executive director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez told reporters at the Palace.
"It was promised that by June there will bee a soft launch and will be probably used by the city of Manila for the 50th anniversary celebration of the friendship between the Philippines and South Korea," she added.
Alvarez, also presidential adviser on culture, said the government will infuse another R50 million into the restoration project of Metropolitan theater to ensure its full operations by December.
Alvarez credited the President for her timely intervention to facilitate the immediate restoration of the Metropolitan Theater, built in the art deco style in 1931, amid bickering between the Manila City government and the Government Insurance Service System over ownership and management of the facility. "Kung hindi pumasok ang Pangulo, wala ng resolusyon dyan, talagang sarado dyan" Alvarez said.
During its heyday, the Metropolitan Theater was a venue for cultural entertainment like zarzuelas, plays, and operas. The theater, built by architects Juan Arellano Francisco Monti and Isabelo Tampinco, was damaged during the Manila for Manila in February 1945 and began slowly deteriorating.