By Erma Edera
The newly-renovated 220-meter historical Jones Bridge was unveiled to the public after Manila Mayor Isko Moreno led its inauguration on Sunday.
“Ang tulay ng Jones Bridge ay nagpakita ng paglago ng Lungsod ng Maynila, nagsimula sa maliit dala ng komersyo na naganap ating bansa, partikular na sa lungsod ng Maynila,” Moreno said.
“Ibinalik namin ang La Madre Filipina para maging testigo sa Bagong Maynila. Let La Madre Manila witness the city of lights of Manila,” he added.
The Mayor also lauded architect Jerry Acuzar, the man behind the historical resort Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar and Lugene Ang, president of Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who donated P20 million for the rehabilitation of the century-old bridge in the capital.
Moreno also bared in his speech that they also plan to open the first phase of the Metropolitan Theater by the first quarter of 2020.
According to City Engineer Armand Andres, Chief of the Manila Department of Engineering and Public Works, it took two months to rehabilitate the bridge.
“Lahat ng ilaw nacheck na, lahat ng kailangang iretouch na pintura nagawa na and for the first time, na flushing ang Jones Bridge, natanggal ang alikabok, malinis na malinis na,” Andres said.
Hours before the inauguration, cleaning and flushing operations are conducted by the Department of Public Services and the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
Aside from the Paris-inspired ornate street lampposts placed on the bridge, solar-powered light sources on the road was also installed to delineate road edges and center lines.
A vertical wall garden with 702 pin lights can also be seen in the center of the bridge.
Kundiman or classic Filipino love songs can also be heard amid plants in the middle of the Jones bridge.
Two sculptures standing on pillars at the foot of the bridge welcome the commuters to Binondo on the other side.
The Madre Filipina Statue, symbol of Filipina motherhood which was relocated to Rizal Park for decades finally returned to its original location.
During World War II, one of the four statues were damaged, while the other statue was relocated to Rizal Park and the other two is now displayed in the Court of Appeals.
Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, Dr. Vicky Belo and Architect Acuzar were also present during the inauguration of the newly-rehabilitated Jones Bridge.
The inauguration ended with a 10-minute fireworks display.
Jones Bridge or also known as the “Queen of the Bridges” in Manila was formerly the Puente de Espana or Bridge of Spain.
It was created by architect Juan M. Arellano after it was later named after William Atkinson Jones in honor of the lawmaker who authored the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916, also called the “Jones Law.”
The original design of the historical bridge had four plinths and four statues placed on pedestals at each end of the bridge. It was destroyed during World War II, destroying one of the statues.
It was reconstructed in 1946 with a new design. In 1998, it was partially restored by architect Conrad Onglao.
Around 20 million was donated for the rehabilitation of the bridge.