MANILA — The government on Friday assured that enough security measures are in place to make the visit of Pope Francis safe.
The pope will arrive in Manila on Jan. 15 for a five-day visit to the Philippines.
“Lahat naman ng maaaring maging banta o contingencies that could arise ay pinaghahandaan (All possible threats or contingencies that could arise are prepared for),” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a telephone interview.
Different government agencies continue to do the necessary preparations for the pope’s visit, he said, noting that they continued to work even during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
On the possible agenda for the President’s meeting with Pope Francis, Coloma said the President is always ready to discuss any issue with the pope.
“Nakita naman po natin ang kahandaan ng ating Pangulo sa maraming pagkakataon na nakipag-ugnayan siya sa mga lider ng ibang bansa na dumalaw sa atin dito at nakipagtalakayan siya sa kanila sa iba’t ibang mga summit ng APEC at ASEAN na kanyang dinaluhan (We can see our President’s preparedness in numerous instances that he interacted with visiting foreign leaders or during his discussions in various summits he participated in, like APEC and ASEAN),” he said.
“Handang-handa naman po siyang tumalakay ng ano mang relevant topic na mapag-uusapan sa kanilang discussions (He [President] is ready to discuss any relevant topic they might talk about).”
Coloma also mentioned the similarities in the guiding principles of the two leaders, saying that both of them are pro-poor and anti-corruption.
He said that among the President’s major advocacies are achieving inclusive growth for everyone, reducing poverty, and fighting graft and corruption under his righteous path agenda.
Similarly, the pope, in his recent public pronouncements, underscored the need to combat corruption in society, and tackled the ill effects of capitalism that deprive poor people of better opportunities, Coloma said.