Jan 072015

pope francis schedule

MANILA, Philippines–Government agencies and security forces met with President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday to present plans to secure Pope Francis and millions of people ‎who will gather during the Pope’s four-day visit to the country.

But Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II admitted on Wednesday that after the President scrutinized and critiqued the proposals of various agencies, more improvement is needed.

“Yesterday we had a four-hour session led by President (Aquino). He went over the proposed security plans for each part of the Pope’s visit and critiqued them. May mga dapat pang paigtingin at palakasin (We still have to iron out and fortify a few things),” Roxas told reporters during the Philippine National Police’s traditional New Year’s call in Camp Crame.

With only eight days left before the Pontiff’s arrival, Roxas added that the concerned agencies, including the PNP, will continue to polish the security measures for the people and the Pope.

Also during the meeting, all intelligence services of the government merged and presented a report to the President.

Roxas refused to divulge the report’s content but he named the agencies involved, which included the National Security Agency (NSA), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), and the intelligence units of the military and police.

“We are doing everything to make sure the Pope is safe. Also, the security of the people is equally important,” he added.

In a separate interview, PNP officer in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said they have not monitored any threats against the Pope.

“There is none. He’s well-loved by everybody,” Espina said.

But Espina said the PNP will not be complacent, saying they are readying contingencies in case something untoward happens.

“Even if there are no threats of course we always have to assume the presence of threats so we could prepare,” he added.

The PNP will have the largest bulk of deployed personnel with 25,000. From the Armed Forces of the Philippines, 7,000 troops and 5,000 reservists will be deployed.


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