MANILA, Philippines – The MacArthur Bridge in Manila remains unfit for the traditional procession of the Black Nazarene on Saturday, January 9, the public works department said.
“We have not yet started the rehabilitation of MacArthur Bridge. Hence, it is not recommended for the Black Nazarene procession,” said Melvin Navarro, Metro Manila director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The DPWH said MacArthur Bridge still needs retrofitting.
In May, the DPWH included the MacArthur Bridge among 6 Metro Manila bridges that need repairs to strengthen them for future earthquakes.
MacArthur Bridge, also known as the Santa Cruz Bridge, was part of the old route for the Black Nazarene procession.
It is closer to Quiapo Church than the alternative, Jones Bridge.
Last retrofitted in 1991, MacArthur Bridge is now deemed unsafe to bear the number of devotees. The retrofitting work will start after the Nazarene procession.
Each year, millions of devotees join the hours-long procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church. The devotees believe the Black Nazarene is miraculous. (READ: Devotees hijack Mass, take Nazarene)
The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, said the Manila Police District is in charge of securing the yearly procession.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said, “As of this time, no threat has been monitored. Continuous monitoring will be conducted by intelligence units to ensure the safety and security of the devotees.” – Rappler.com
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