THE new Manila City Hall underpass sporting a clean, modern look was opened to the public yesterday by Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, with stern warning against those who will vandalize any portion of the said underpass, where a portion was dedicated in honor of the frontliners in this time of the pandemic.
Joined by city engineer Armand Andres, tourism chief Charlie Dungo, city electrician Randy Sadac, Guiller Asido of the Intramuros Administration and Egay Fernandez of the NCCA, Moreno said the newly-rehabilitated under pass connecting Manila City Hall to Intramuros, sported vertical gardens, stairs and walls that are dotted with colorful art work and murals done by various artists and dealing with the city’s rich history, an information map on jeepney lines in the city and a digital information kiosk that would guide tourists, visitors or even locals looking for specific places within the city.
The mini bookstore which used to sell second-hand books was retained but with a stall that keeps up with the themed design of the entire underpass.
Moreno said no city funds were used in the said underpass and is a result of donations and a collaboration with various national government agencies.
He also warned that the new underpass is equipped with closed circuit television cameras making use of high-tech facial recognition and also personnel to protect the users round-the-clock. “Pakiusap ko, malinis, maaliwalas, unobstructed, sana proteksyunan nila. Ýung pagiging artist nila (vandals) bring it somewhere else,” Moreno said, as he warned against any attempt at vandalizing any part of the underpass and called on the public to be vigilant against such elements.
Andres said that on Moreno’s orders, non-skid tiles were used on the flooring so that no one slips even during the rainy season when the floors are expected to inevitably get wet. The ceilings were refurbished while vertical wall gardens were also put inside, Andres added.
It will be recalled that when he assumed office, Moreno cleared the said underpass of illegal vendors which were put there by an ‘organizer’ in exchange for varying fees collected from the vendors themselves.
The congested underpass made it difficult for users to go to the other side without having to wade through the various kinds of merchandise that littered the area, which was dirty, smelly and muddy when it rained.
Moreno ordered the original sidings replaced with a faithful reproduction of the Botong Francisco mural which greets visitors at the Bulwagang Antonio Villegas in City Hall where Moreno holds press conferences during pre-pandemic times.
The underpass, which used to be smelly, dirty, congested and slippery during rainy season was closed in March to give way to a complete rehabilitation.
Also yesterday, Moreno began the distribution of the free tablets, laptops and pocket wi-fis for the use of public elementary students and teachers, respectively. More than P1 billion was alloted by the city government for this.