For Leyte cop, securing pope’s motorcade a blessing
TACLOBAN CITY—Police Officer 3 Jet Pirote considers it a blessing to be among the cops deployed in Leyte to secure the motorcade route of Pope Francis.
Pirote may not be able to look at the Vicar of Christ as he will be facing the frenzied devotees who will come to see the pope. But knowing that the Supreme Pontiff passed by behind him was enough.
“I am a devout Catholic. Masasabay namin sa pang-araw-araw na gawain ang serbisyo namin para sa Diyos,” Pirote said.
“Nakatalikod kami para makafocus sa crowd. Basta makalapit kami sa kanya, okay na ‘yun. Na mabasbasan niya kami sa pagdaan niya,” he said.
Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Leyte on Saturday.
Authorities are expecting a million devotees, mostly survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” said Chief Superintendent Cedrick Train, deputy for administration of Region 8 Police Office.
A total of 8,000 police were deployed for the papal security in Leyte with 5,000 assigned in the motorcade; 2,000 in the Mass at the Daniel Romualdez Airport; 500 in the Palo Cathedral; 300 at the Pope Francis Center, and 200 at checkpoints.
“We are prepared to ensure the security and safety of His Holiness, though we don’t intend to pose as unnecessary barrier between the Pope and the faithful,” Train said in a text message.
Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the Tacloban airport before proceeding to Palo to bless the Pope Francis Center and then to Palo Cathedral to offer a candle on the mass grave of Yolanda fatalities.
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