|(Photo: Chairman and CEO Cristino L. Naguiat hands over PAGCOR’ remaining P178 million mandated contribution to National Museum of the Philippines Director Jeremy Barns (2nd from left). Also in photo are Senate Committee Chairman on Education, Arts and Culture Senator Edgardo Angara (2nd to the right), Commission on Audit representative Resurrection Quieta and National Museum Assistant Director Cecelio Salcedo (left).
After almost 13 years of waiting, the National Museum of the Philippines can now claim the remaining amount of its mandated allocation by virtue of Republic Act 8492 from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
PAGCOR Chairman Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr. signed the Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of National Museum of the Philippines Director Jeremy Barns and Committee Chairman on Education, Arts and Culture Senator Edgardo Angara to officially remit the outstanding balance of P178 million to the National Museum.
Senator Angara, a known advocate of the promotion of Philippine culture and arts, said PAGCOR’s remittance is a milestone because it is “the first biggest amount turned over by PAGCOR to the National Museum of the Philippines.”
Angara said the National Museum practically needs every peso that they receive from the government to expand, preserve and showcase their collection. “Many of these collections are still kept and not seen by the public. This goes to show how culturally rich and artistic our race is,” he said.
The Senator added that PAGCOR’s financial assistance to the National Museum is beneficial to both agencies. “This is a very big gesture of the state to show its support to culture and arts, and that agency in particular is PAGCOR.”
Angara cited it is also beneficial for PAGCOR because it means the state-gaming firm is performing its mandate to help boost the country’s culture, arts and tourism. “This move will help foster cultural and artistic literacy, which is obviously lacking among Filipinos,” Angara added.
Chairman Naguiat couldn’t agree more. It has been the directive of the new PAGCOR chief to support and promote Philippine culture.
“We hope this helps the National Museum of the Philippines in the fulfillment of its mission as the primary institution that safekeeps the Philippines’ many historical artifacts that define our identity as a people. We are always one with our government in the preservation and promotion of Philippine culture and the arts,” Naguiat stressed.
According to Chairman Naguiat, PAGCOR is duty-bound by its Charter to remit to the National Museum of the Philippines whatever allocation was accorded to it by existing laws.
Under Republic Act No. 8492, otherwise known as the National Museum Act of 1998, PAGCOR was mandated to allocate a total of P250 million to the National Museum of the Philippines to help in the promotion of the Philippines’ cultural heritage.
PAGCOR started to provide funding to the National Museum in September 2002 but remittances were withheld in 2005. Only P72 million had so far been remitted to the Museum Fund.
Under the signed memorandum of understanding, PAGCOR shall remit the P178 million balance to the National Museum in nine tranches, comprising eight tranches of P20 million from April to November 2011. The final remittance, amounting to P18 million, will be released in December 2011.
Meanwhile, National Museum of the Philippines Director Jeremy Barns expressed great elation with the new development. Barns said that with the funding from PAGCOR, they can proceed with the badly-needed renovations at the National Museum. “We definitely need a big amount because the museum is big. It is satisfying to see that the law is finally being implemented after 13 years,” he said.
Barns stated that through PAGCOR’s financial contribution, they can also purchase some multimedia equipment so the public can better appreciate what they see in the museum. “Instead of the usual lectures, we can now use projectors and other equipment that will make every visitor’s experience more interactive,” he shared.
“We also want to enhance the preservation of the existing artifacts so that the future generation will know how to appreciate their cultural heritage, despite many technological breakthroughs and global influences,” he added.