MANILA - With Instagrammable light posts and a restoration of its "Old Manila" glory, Jones Bridge in Manila, which has undergone rehabilitation since July, has drawn delight from residents of the city and elsewhere.
But with its revived beauty, one other facet of the bridge's history may be affected: its place in the route of the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene every January.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has said the procession route for the annual procession held every January could change to avoid passing through the newly rehabilitated bridge. The Traslacion draws millions of devotees every year.
"I think there will be some rerouting. May paghahanda namang ginagawa ang pamahalaang lungsod, simbahan ng Nazareno at mga ahensya ng national government."
(The local government, the church and national government agencies are preparing for this.)
However, he clarified this has yet to be decided on in consultation with other groups involved in the security plan and preparations for the Traslacion.
He said these groups have been meeting since November, 2 months before the procession.
"Ayokong pangunahan ang desisyon."
(I do not want to preempt the decision.)
Jones Bridge, among Manila's historic bridges that straddles the banks of the Pasig River, is among closely monitored areas along the procession route as devotees get crammed there during the passage of the Black Nazarene's andas (carriage) from Lawton to Binondo.
During the andas crossing through the bridge, the Philippine Coast Guard has boats on standby to rescue anyone who might fall into the Pasig River.
Church authorities have even called out to devotees in the past not to jump from the bridge during the Traslacion.
Moreno said safety of the devotees, not maintaining the design of the bridge, would be the main consideration for any decision on the route.
"'Yung pagpapaganda, maganda iyon. Pero sa akin, mas maganda sa akin 'yung ligtas ang lahat, kung kaligtasan ng bawat isa. Kasi walang uri ng ganda na puwedeng ipampalit sa buhay ng tao."
(Beautification is good. But the safety of everyone is more important to me. No kind of beauty could replace a person’s life.)
The bridge will be inaugurated post-rehabilitation on Sunday.