MANILA – The Philippine National Police on Thursday evening lauded the Filipino public for maintaining discipline and order in welcoming Pope Francis upon his arrival yesterday afternoon.
An estimated 800,000 – 1 million people welcomed the pontiff at the Villamor Air Base and across the stretch of streets for the motorcade en route to the Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy Father’s residence.
Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesperson, voiced his thankfulness that the Pope’s welcome went smoothly, and that the public was mindful of the guidelines issued by the administration and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP),
“Magkakasama tayong lahat dito, nag-unite, nakita natin na lahat is so excited, kanina hindi rin tayo makahinga noong nanonood tayo, pero talagang excited tayong lahat, pati ‘yung mga pulis doon, sigurado ko ‘yung mga nakaabang doon sa line is excited lahat. Of course, it’s really an honor for us (We were all together, united, and everyone was excited, earlier we could barely breathe, from excitement, even the police who were there, waiting, in line were excited.), ” Mayor said in an interview on radio dzMM.
“Siguro pinakita natin sa first day, ang sabi ko nga is ‘if we can do it on the first day, we can do it all the way (I say that what we showed on the first day, we can show it all the way.),'” he added.
Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media, echoed the sentiments of Mayor, as he commented that the first day of the papal visit was “perfect.”
“(The) first day for me is perfect. ‘Yun nga lang medyo matagal ang paglabas. Pati crowd, paulit-ulit nating sinasabi, kayo ang support, augmentation ng ating forces. We have done everything, you have to do the rest, ginawa naman nila, hanggang pahiyaw-hiyaw lang, saka ‘yung sigaw, iba eh, parang si Kristo bumalik sa lupa,” he added.
Mayor once more appealed to the public to maintain this spirit of order and discipline all throughout the papal visit, and to be mindful of not only their own safety, but also that of those around them
“Kaya nga sa ngayon, ipapakiusap natin sa lahat na, para lahat tayo makita siya, then ang concern natin ay sa isa’t isa, hindi ‘yung pansarili tayo. Tingnan natin ‘yung concern ng isa, ng kapwa natin, para kung matinginan man tayo, lahat tayo’y makakakita sa kanya (We call on people, so that all of us can get a chance to see him (the Pope), to have concern for one another, and not only think of ourselves. Let us be watchful of having concern for each other, for our fellow men and women, so that if he should stop where we are, we can all see him.),” the official said, as he noted that Pope Francis is known for stopping the Popemobile to interact with the crowd.