The National Commission for Culture and the Arts wishes to address with deep concern the recent allegations regarding the on-going rehabilitation and conservation of the Metropolitan Theater.

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As the lead cultural agency and the prime government arm for culture and the arts, our Board is composed of the heads of our affiliate cultural agencies, namely, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the National Museum (NM), the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), the National Archives of the Philippines (NAP), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF). This gives us a unique opportunity to collaborate on mutual issues and concerns, as well as share resources, knowledge, and expertise.

The undertaking of the restoration of the Metropolitan Theater (the MET) is another example of this close collaboration among the cultural agencies. We are grateful for the sustained assistance of NHCP and NM in the execution of the project, not only because they have jurisdiction over the MET (as a National Historical Landmark and a National Cultural Treasure), but also because they have guided us in the execution of NCCA’s very first conservation project.

Conservation of built heritage is never as straightforward or simple as simply building a new structure. Along the way, the project implementer is confronted with previously unknown features or details (particularly coming from the original design of Juan Arellano), which would necessitate further study and changes. Faithful to our mandate, the NCCA has exercised due diligence in this regard and have made our decisions based on international conservation standards and after the benefit of a thorough deliberation. This has led the Board to decide the deletion of the previously proposed cinematheque and black box theater, in order to conserve what remains of the old courts, as in the original 1931 plan.

Delays, unfortunately, are inevitable, but the NCCA has taken steps in order to minimize its effect on the project. This includes the reorganization of our internal processes, the tapping of expertise from our affiliated agencies, and the streamlining of our organization. At the same time, we wish to emphasize that we do not, and will not, tolerate corruption and any act which would not only put the government at a disadvantage, but also would affect the integrity of the structure.

Further, while we take exception to the allegations of corruption, contractor-coddling and other missteps in the conservation of the Metropolitan Theater, we welcome any investigation on the matter. Internally, the NCCA has also been reviewing and auditing the accomplishment of the previous project management vis-à-vis the contractor’s accomplishments and the implementation of the various directives of the Board.

The Board has reorganized the project management team for the execution of the project; directly engaged the NHCP for the revision of architectural and engineering plans; and created a fact-finding body to look into the transactions of the project.

We, in the NCCA, share the dream of many concerned Filipinos to witness once again the glorious rebirth of the MET. We want to assure the general public that the mandate given to us is executed in the best possible way, in consonance with our responsibilities based on the conservation charters, and with government rules and regulations.

Walang korupsiyon. Tuloy-tuloy ang restorasyon.