GOOD news for heritage advocates and Manila oldtimers.
The Metropolitan (Met) Theater of Manila, which has been deteriorating for almost 20 years now over ownership squabbles, is set for restoration and revival.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will sign the deed of absolute sale for the theater on June 9, 2 p.m., at the GSIS Multi-Purpose Hall in Pasay City. GSIS president Vergara and NCCA Chair Felipe de Leon Jr. will be present.
Built in 1930 and designed by Juan Arellano, the Met is considered a Modern Art Deco masterpiece.
The Met closed down in 1996 because of conflict between GSIS, whose funds were used to restore it in the 1970s during the Marcos years, and Manila City Hall.
Because of the stalemate, NCCA offered to buy the building from GSIS. The Department of Budget and Management recently approved the purchase by the NCCA for P200 million.
Prewar plant demolished
But bad news for heritage advocates and Manila old timers: While the Met is set for rehabilitation, the list of demolished heritage structures in Manila has lengthened.
The latest addition to the growing number of significant buildings felled by the Manila City government is the prewar Coca-Cola plant on Otis Street, Pandacan.
Built possibly in the Industrial style, the building survived World War II and stood tall amid natural and other manmade disasters all these years.
But it appears it won’t survive into the new century as City Hall, led by Mayor Joseph Estrada and Vice-Mayor and senator wannabe Isko Moreno, the same tandem that allowed the demolition of the old Meralco building in nearby San Marcelino Street, has ordered the soda plant razed to the ground.
Although not marked by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines or declared a significant structure by the National Museum, the Coca-Cola plant is considered an important cultural property under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.