MANILA – Malacanang has sought the cooperation of the public and the private sector for the orderly and peaceful visit of Pope Francis to the country from Jan. 15 to 19.
”We’re asking the cooperation of everybody to follow the ushers, marshals, armed forces and national police for the orderly and peaceful visit of Pope Francis,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan DZRB on Sunday.
Coloma said President Benigno S. Aquino III is confident that “we can have orderly and momentous visit of our beloved Pope if we will all unite and help each other.”
”According to the President, the government cannot handle it (papal visit) alone. We coordinate with the church and various groups from the private sector,” Coloma said.
”We particularly appeal to those who will attend the Mass in Luneta and Tacloban, wherein thousands of devotees will attend. In any big gathering, there is a chance that even a small commotion can create stampede,” the PCOO official warned.
Coloma said a walk-through inside Malacanang grounds, attended by Cabinet members and some other government officials, was held on Sunday for the final preparation of the special meeting between the President and Pope Francis on Jan. 16.
Coloma said a dry-run of the Pope’s convoy to be led by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from Villamor Air Base in Pasay City and other motorcades en route to other major events will also be held on Monday.
”We are calling on our motorists to use alternate routes while the dry run is held beginning at 6 p.m.,” Coloma said.
The MMDA is also expected to release the detailed traffic rerouting plan on Monday, including the drop-off points, designated parking areas and buffer zones for emergency vehicles.
Coloma said the Office of the President is expected to release soon the budget for the four-day visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines.
”The government would want to assure our people that the amount to be spent is similar to the ordinary budget allotted for the state visits of world leaders,” Coloma said.
On security preparation, Coloma said the government continues to coordinate with the whole intelligence community, armed forces and police to prevent any threat during the Pope’s visit.