Posted November 21, 2019 09:24:07 Philippine President Rodrigo Aquino’s administration shut down the National Museum of Art in the capital, Manila, in December 2017.
It was the latest blow to Philippine cultural heritage in recent years, which had long been under the rule of the United States and the United Nations.
The museum’s director, Daniel Galvez, told The Associated Press that the museum had been closed because of the government’s refusal to grant permission for it to operate as an art gallery.
Galvez said the government would have opened the museum again had it been allowed to continue operating.
He said the museum would reopen to the general public in October 2021.
Galvezes administration said it would continue to provide funding to the museum to continue its operations, but it was closed due to the threat of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s drug war, which has killed more than 1,100 people in a wave of killings since Duterte took office in June.
The Philippines’ president, Rodrigo Duterte, during a press conference in Manila on September 23, 2017.
Duterte has said he wants to “save” the nation’s culture, citing his countrys decline as a result of drug trafficking.
He has called for the removal of the statues of former presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the countrys first two presidents to die in office.
The countrys last two presidents, former President Benigno Aquino III and his successor, Vice President Jejomar Binay, have also been indicted on drug-related charges.
Galvey, a Filipino-born, American-trained curator, told AP he was inspired by the museum’s founder, Spanish artist Francisco Pizarro.
He is also known for his work in cultural anthropology.
He told the AP he hoped to create a space that would help Filipinos and tourists to learn about Philippine culture.
“We need a place to see what’s going on in the Philippines, the way our ancestors and the people in the past lived,” Galvez told the news agency.
“It is the story of a people, and a culture, and they all speak the same language, and the same languages, and there are very few differences.
And that is the reason why they are so strong, so united, and so united in the way they speak.”
Galvees decision to reopen the museum comes after he spoke to the media and toured the facility.
The government, in a statement, said the closure would allow for the museum and its exhibitions to reopen to public use.
“The administration continues to respect the cultural heritage of the Philippines,” the statement said.
“This museum is an integral part of Philippine cultural identity and is one of the most significant cultural sites in the country.
It is also an integral element of Philippine national security.
We are committed to the preservation and protection of Philippine culture.”
The Associated World News contributed to this report.