MANILA — With ten-days left before the arrival of Pope Francis in the country, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has not yet received any security threat but still continues its intelligence operations, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, chief of PNP-Public Information Office (PIO) said on Tuesday.
“As of this time we have not received any specific threat for the visit of Pope Francis, but still the intelligence operations continues,” Mayor said.
He said the PNP has been coordinating with the Presidential Security Group and close-in security of the Pope to secure him.
He said the PNP are under the Committee on Security on Public Order wherein 18 agencies are members, including PNP.
Ang position namin, we won’t go into details, general statement, may task force Manila and Leyte, may sub task group under task forces… Kasama kami sa 18 agencies, we are under committee on public order,” he said.
Mayor said part of the security preparations is the breach of security protocol to which the Pope is known for, what with his intention to go near to as many poor people.
He said it’s more challenging to secure Pope Francis compared to President Barack Obama, who visited the country last year.“Ang difference is that Obama, no crowd. From airport, direcho siya. Ang crowd dito, we expect millions darating. Ang Pope kasi is head of state, so this visit is state visit and apostolic visit, i-accord natin specific protocol, security sa kanya, he is also head of Catholic Church because of napakadami na pupunta, yung personality niya, nagseserve din as challenge sa amin yun (The difference is that Obama, no crowd. From the airport, he went straight to the Palace. With the Pope, we are expecting millions of people. The pope is the head of state and also the head of the Catholic Church, so this is a state and apostolic visit),” Mayor said, adding “Lahat naman (everything is) challenging sa part ng PNP, that’s why it is a whole government approach, we appeal to the public na mag cooperate din sila sa security forces, and for them to observe the rules.”
The police preparations are focused into two, one in Manila and another one in Leyte.
“There will be ample security in all areas where the Pope would go. There will be specific task groups, specific security personnel and these are all part of the whole government approach,” said Mayor.
Aside from 25,000 cops, personnel from the military and other law enforcement agencies will also be part of Pope security plan.
Mayor, said most of their personnel will be involved in securing the vicinity of the areas where the Pontiff is scheduled to go.
Aside from the Quirino grandstand in Manila, the Pope is also set to go to the University of Sto. Tomas and is also set to go to Palo town in Leyte.
The Pope will be in the country on Jan. 15 to 19 to visit those who were devastated by super typhoon Yolanda last year. The weather disturbance killed at least 8,000 people.