FROM its smelly, dilapidated state when it was closed to give way to a total makeover, the Manila City Hall underpass will now be opened to the public sporting a fresh, new look that would leave its users in awe.
Mayor Isko Moreno said users of the new Manila City Hall underpass which connects Manila City Hall to Intramuros, will be greeted with vertical gardens on both ends. The stairs and walls are dotted with art work, murals, 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.
Of the vendors that used to swarm the area to the point that pedestrians no longer have enough space to walk on, only the mini bookstore which sells second-hand books was retained, although its stall was redesigned to keep up with the themed design of the entire underpass.
Moreno said the underpass will be well-lit and equipped with security cameras and personnel to protect the users round-the-clock.
City engineer Armand Andres said that on Moreno’s orders, the 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.
As soon as 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. 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.
It was learned from Andres that closed circuit television cameras making use of high-tech facial recognition have also been installed in the premises.
According to Andres, the renovation of the said Manila City Hall underpass which began in March did not cause the mayor a single centavo.