Public key to keeping Pope Francis safe—PNP
MANILA, Philippines—While security forces have put their “best foot forward” for the visit of Pope Francis, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said the most crucial part of keeping the pontiff safe was the cooperation of the public.
“Among the most potent forces in securing the Pope is the public,” Deputy Director
General Leonardo Espina, PNP officer-in-charge, said in a recent meeting with the media.
In a statement on Tuesday, the PNP official said the peace and order during the much-anticipated event lay with the people, who might be “inconvenienced” by the security measures of the police.
“We appeal to the public for their understanding and cooperation in security measures that are being implemented by the police,” Espina said.
Two days before the pontiff arrives in the Philippines, the PNP began to deploy 25,000 of its 150,000-member organization for the Pope’s security.
Starting January 12, Espina said the entire PNP had been on full alert to ensure the availability of all police personnel, especially in Metro Manila and Eastern Visayas where the Pope will make stops.
In a meeting with media organizations on Monday, he also asked people who will be going to Luneta for the Pope’s final Mass to avoid bringing children.
Also, Espina appealed to those who will be bringing backpacks to cooperate with the security personnel inspecting their bags. A total of 20 scanners and metal detectors will be distributed at the entrances of the park
“I hope we the public won’t misinterpret us, that were causing them inconvenience. This is also for them. We care for the public,” he said.
PNP personnel will provide operational support to the Presidential Security Group (PSG) who will provide close-in security to the Pope and his entourage.
“We are not leaving anything to chance in our preparations for the visit of Pope Francis, and we have drawn contingencies for every foreseeable scenario,” Espina added.
Other PNP contingents will continue conducting security coverage operations in all venues of the Pope’s engagement.
“We are putting our best foot forward in this historic national event. We have rehearsed and fine-tuned all our systems and procedures for this event, such that we have established full back-up system that will address any unforeseen situation that may arise,” Espina said.
He added that other PNP units, aside from the 25,000 personnel, will assist the people with traffic directions, routes that were altered, and parking areas.