MANILA — The Metro Manila Council (MMC), the policy-making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), on Friday passed a resolution requesting President Benigno Aquino III to declare January 15 to 19, 2015 as non-working holidays during the state and apostolic journey of Pope Francis to the Philippines.
The highest leader of the Catholic church is scheduled to visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19. The pope is scheduled to hold masses at Luneta and Tacloban airport and meet with earthquake and typhoon survivors in the Visayas.
“The Metro Manila mayors signed the resolution, urging the President to declare a five-day holiday during the Pope’s visit. This for better preparation, to enable pilgrims from provinces to witness the historic Papal visit,” Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino told reporters after the MMC meeting on Friday in Makati City.
The MMC is composed of chief executives of all local government units in Metro Manila.
In a resolution, the Metro Manila mayors that comprise the MMC, said the visit of Pope Francis is expected to induce traffic congestion with the expected influx of millions of devotees and well-wishers.
All government agencies and the nation are encouraged to help ensure the successful visit of Pope Francis in the country.
Security preparations would also be enhanced to ensure the safety of Pope Francis and the smooth implementation of the planned activities.
“We need barricades, rerouting, crowd management, this is a very big event,” said Tolentino.
Earlier, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada declared a four-day holiday in Manila for the visit of Pope Francis.
Tolentino also created task force “Phantom” to provide traffic management and security during the papal visit next year.
According to Tolentino, Task Force Phantom is composed of 15 traffic constables from MMDA and 15 members of the Philippine National Police’s Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to ensure smooth vehicular flow during the visit of Pope Francis.
Tolentino said that during the visit, the task force will provide escort and security contingent during the Pope’s schedule in Metro Manila and the province of Leyte.