Date Posted: June 16, 2015
The Metropolitan Theater, more commonly known as “The Met”, has a new owner after the signing of the Deed of Absolute Sale between state pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Under the Deed of Absolute Sale, GSIS turns over the ownership to NCCA who bought the 84-year old National Cultural Treasure for Php270 million. The budget came from the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts, part of the travel tax collected by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.
In his message, GSIS President and General Manager Robert Vergara said that “GSIS is privileged to turn over the ownership of this extraordinary asset to NCCA as the agency mandated to preserve and promote our rich national cultural heritage.”
Under a 2004 tripartite agreement signed among GSIS, NCCA and the Manila City Government, GSIS as Met’s owner granted the right of usufruct to the city government for the Theater’s rehabilitation in coordination with NCCA.
However, the rehabilitation program was never realized leading to Met’s deterioration.
In November 2014, Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada made a formal offer to GSIS to rehabilitate and purchase The Met for Php267.15 million to provide a venue for Manila-based students and faculty in performing arts.
GSIS, in keeping with the provisions of RA 10066 or the National Cultural Act of 2009 and the tripartite agreement between NCCA, GSIS and the City of Manila, notified NCCA about the offer.
At that point, NCCA had 90 days to exercise its right of first refusal or match the offer made by the City of Manila. Its matching offer had to be paid in full or higher than the offer made by the city government.
On May 25, less than 90 days before the deadline, NCCA confirmed its purchase of The Met for Php270 million.
PGM Vergara said “we look forward to the day when the Grand Old Dame of Manila’s theaters finally opens its doors to the public to enjoy season after season of live local music and arts performances.”
PGM Vergara and Chairman Felipe M. de Leon Jr. signed the Deed of Absolute Sale on behalf of GSIS and NCCA, respectively. Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad witnessed the signing rite.