By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
While San Juan City has prohibited the traditional “basaan” or the dousing of water during this year’s Wattah Wattah Festival, Mayor Francis Zamora said the local government will push through with the annual celebration on June 24 amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday (June 22), Zamora said he issued Executive Order No. 42, series of 2020, which prohibits the traditional splashing of water during the revelry to avoid the risk of contamination and prevent the possible spread of the virus “due to close proximity on the streets.”
Instead, the image of St. John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint, will be paraded along the streets of the city with priests joining the parade to bless the faithful, he said.
“The San Juan City fiesta is an important cultural activity that we want to push through albeit in a solemn and toned-down manner,” Zamora said.
Residents were urged to stay within their residence or on their front yards to witness the parade and the blessing. Physical distancing must be observed and everyone is reminded to wear face masks.
The Wattah Wattah Festival celebrates the feast of St. John the Baptist, whom the city was named after. During the festivity, residents participate in the splashing of water along the streets of San Juan.
This year’s theme is “Basbasan sa Makabagong San Juan (Blessing in the Renewed San Juan).”
“Every year, our constituents look forward to a festive celebration. However, precautionary measures against the spread of the virus in the city must take precedence this 2020,” Zamora said.
“San Juan City is considered the ground zero of COVID-19 in the countr,y but we have made huge headways in our fight against the virus. I don’t want the collective effort and sacrifices of our beloved San Juaneños and our frontliners to be for naught,” he added.
In last year’s festivity, the water dousing was limited because of water shortages experienced in parts of Metro Manila, including in San Juan.