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MANILA, Philippines – Three vehicles are being prepared by organizers for the visit of Pope Francis this week, a church official confirmed Monday, January 12.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, a member of the papal visit committee, said that one jeepney-style vehicle, one Isuzu vehicle, and one Kia car will be used for the papal visit.
The Kia vehicle was borrowed from South Korea and has already been shipped to the Philippines.
It was the same vehicle used by the Pope for World Youth Day in Korea, according to Bishop Ruperto Santos of the papal visit transportation committee.
Meanwhile, the Isuzu and jeepney-style vehicle were made in the Philippines.
Asked when the vehicles would be used, Villegas said it depends on security concerns.
“Depende sa security iyon, kung kailan nila gustong gamitin ‘yung tatlo ay iyon ang gagamitin,” he said.
(It depends on security, whenever they wish to use the vehicles.)
The Pope will be using one popemobile in Manila, another in Tacloban, and a third as a standby vehicle.
“Bakit tatlo? Kasi ayaw naming magkaroon ng aberya, at kung sakaling mayroong ganun, meron tayong standby,” Villegas said. (Why three vehicles? Because we do not want to encounter any setbacks. If that happens, we have a standby vehicle.)
Villegas added that a member of the papal entourage from the Vatican will be driving the vehicles.
“Kasi alam na niya ang body language ni Pope Francis, kung kailan gustong tumigil, kung kailan gustong magtuloy, para ‘di na kailangang pang mag-adjust sa isa’t isa,” he said.
(Because he knows the body language of Pope Francis, when he wants to stop, when he wants to continue, so they don’t need to adjust to each other.)
Motoring magazine Top Gear Philippines earlier posted a photo of a modified Isuzu D-Max vehicle that will be reportedly used for the Pope’s day visit to Tacloban on Saturday, January 17.
In a text message to Rappler, Philippine ambassador Marciano Paynor, one of the organizers of the papal visit, said he could not comment on the issue “as it’s a security concern.”
On Saturday, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications released the official photo of a jeepney-style vehicle for the papal visit.
Officials earlier said the Pope requested to ride in an open-top vehicle that will not be bulletproof, to allow him to be close to the crowds lining up for his visit.
The Pope will be in the Philippines from January 15 to 19. – Rappler.com
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