MANILA – The traditional procession of the Black Nazarene from Quirino Grandstand to the Basilica Minore in Quiapo, Manila on January 9 will skip the MacArthur Bridge this year due to concerns over the bridge's stability.
The religious event will start with Mass at the the Quirino Grandstand celebrated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. The statue of the Black Nazarene will then be brought through Katigbak Drive, Padre Burgos, straight through Taft Avenue, and then to Jones Bridge instead of MacArthur Bridge.
The procession will then turn right to Escolta, left to Quezon Boulevard, Arlegui, Fraternal, right to Vergara Street, and Duque de Alba Street.
From there, it will pass through Castillejos, Farnecio, Arlegui, Nepomuceno, Aguila, Carcer, then straight to Hidalgo towards Plaza del Carmen, Bilibid Viejo, Puyat, Guzman, Hidalgo, Barbosa, Globo de Oro, Palanca, Lanace, Villalobos, and then back to Plaza Miranda.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) earlier approved the usage of the bridge in the annual procession but took back permission due to concerns over the structure's stability.
DPWH Undersecretary Romeo Momo warned that the bridge may not be strong enough to carry the huge crowd that will pass through it.
"Iyung fourlanes, kung mao-okupa ng tao lahat iyan, iyan ay nasa 7 to 8 thousand kilograms. That is from one abutment to the other abutment, and from one bank to the other bank. Assuming nasa 50 kilos per person, eh di nasa 40,000 kilos o 40 tons, which is way beyond our design load capacity of 20 tons," Momo told dzMM.
Momo said last year, only two out of the four lanes of the bridge were opened to the procession but the thick crowd overwhelmed the marshals who were supposed to prevent people from occupying the entire bridge. - with a report from Noel Alamar, dzMM