MANILA, Philippines – The country's National Museum will live through any hurdles.
This is what the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) vowed after finally promising to pay its P178 million balance to the National Museum of the Philippines.
PAGCOR signed the agreement with the Museum to compensate for the P250 million endowment fund bound by law. Partial remittances had been made in the past, with only P178 million left as balance.
In a signing ceremony attended by PAGCOR Chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr., National Museum Director Jeremy Barns and Assistant Director Cecilio Salcedo, and Senator Edgardo Angara of the Museum's Board of Trustees, PAGCOR pledged to finally pay the balance between April and December this year.
The Museum is authorized to use endowment funds "necessary for the preservation of its art collection" under Republic Act No. 8942 or the National Museum Act of 1998.
Aside from the fund from PAGCOR, the Museum is also bound to receive another P250 million from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The Museum shall receive the endowment funds within a period of three years until completed, its charter dictates.
Barns said PAGCOR's settled endowment fund will help in the Museum's agenda for revitalization.
“We are in the process of creating a new and improved National Museum that every Filipino can be proud of. We have been working hard to modernize, expand and upgrade our facilities for the general public as well as enhance the general appeal of the Museum. We have not had the resources that we need to make any big moves, but that has changed significantly now," he said.
Angara, an ex-officio member of the Board, commended the move as "a huge milestone for our country."
"It will foster cultural and artistic literacy. The National Museum has not acquired any large collection in the last few years, and now it finally can. This is the largest amount that any government agency has given so far, and the National Museum can use every penny of it," the head of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture said.
Meanwhile, apart from completing the endowment, Naguiat said PAGCOR is also consistently working to raise funds for the governments’ socio-civic and national developmental efforts.