Pope Vatican

The first Filipinos the Pope will see in PH are children

Carmela Fonbuena
The first Filipinos the Pope will see in PH are children
Two children have been selected to accompany the highest leaders of the land in welcoming Pope Francis to the Philippines. Like the other faithful, they too wish to be blessed by the Holy Father with fewer worries
MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of children beamed with excitement as they gathered at the Villamor Airbase on Thursday, January 15, a few hours before the scheduled arrival of Pope Francis at 5:45 pm.
The reason is clear: while hundreds of thousands are huddled along Metro Manila streets to see the Pope, these children will be among the first group of Filipinos in Manila who will get to see the Holy Father up close when he sets foot in the Philippines for his packed 5-day visit. (READ: 2 kids get first hug from Pope Francis)
Among them is Mark Angelo Balberos, 10, one of two who will join President Benigno Aquino III  and high-ranking government and Church officials in welcoming the Pope on the red carpet. (IN PHOTOS: Pope Francis in the Philippines, Day 1
Nagpapasalamat po ako sa dinami-dami ng tao sa Pilipinas, ako ang napili (I’m very thankful. I got picked from among all the people here in the Philippines),” said Balberos, who has brought a sampaguita garland for the Pope.
What will he tell the Pope? “Mabuhay (Long life), Papa Francis! Pray [for the] Philippines’ people,” he said.
Balbero and his 6 siblings were abandoned by their mother in 2013 and have been under the care of Tulay Foundation.
His wish to the Pope, he said, is to pray that his mother would keep her promise and come back for them. “Nagpaalam po siya sa amin na babalik daw siya kapag nakaipon na siya ng pera (She told us that she would come back once she has saved enough money).”
The other child, Lanie Ortilla, 9, said she will hug the Pope tight. Her wish? That she can go to school.
Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

Another group of children from Parañaque were handpicked to perform a dance number for the Pope, using umbrellas that will form a huge Philippine flag. They have their own wishes, too, if they get the chance to talk to the Pope – to have siblings, and for help in school work, among others.

Strict security protocols are being followed inside the airbase, the headquarters of the Philippine Air Force, where up to 3,000 people are expected to welcome the Pope.

Outside the airbase, thousands are also waiting to catch a glimpse of the Pope. Many of them have camped early Thursday morning along the routes of his motorcade to the Papal Nunciature, the residence of the Vatican’s ambassador to Manila.

Government, church officials to welcome Pope

Based on the schedule, the President will welcome the Pope as soon as he disembarks the plane, and exchange pleasantries as they wait for the rest of the papal delegation.

They will proceed to the ceremonial dais for the playing of the national anthems of the Vatican and then of the Philippines. 

After reviewing the honor guards, the two children will offer the Pope a bouquet of flowers. The President will introduce Francis to his Cabinet members and to the Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See.

The Pope will later introduce to the President the members of his entourage.

The two leaders will be introduced to the officials of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines before proceeding to the Kalayaan Lounge. The rest of the papal  delegation will be led to their assigned vehicles. 

At the end of the program, the President will lead the Pope to the popemobile at the driveway of the Kalayaan Hall, from where the state guest will proceed to his official residence in Manila.

Among the government officials at Villamor Airbase are Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. 

Names and Designations of PH VIPs:

1.     Hon Jejomar C. Binay – Vice President

2.     Hon. Paquito N. Ochoa Jr – Executive Secretary

3.     Hon. Albert F. del Rosario – Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs

4.     Hon. Cesar V. Purisima – Secretary, Department of Finance

5.     Hon. Leila De Lima – Secretary, Department of Justice

6.     Hon. Rogelio L. Singson – Secretary, Department of Public Works and Highways

7.     Hon. Armin A. Luistro – Secretary, Department of Education

8.     Hon. Voltaire T. Gazmin – Secretary, Department of National Defense

9.     Hon. Manuel A. Roxas II – Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government

10.  Hon. Joseph Emilio A. Abaya – Secretary, Department of Transportation and Communication

11.  Hon. Florencio B. Abad – Secretary, Department of Budget and Management

12.  Hon. Arsenio M. Balisacan – Socio-Economic Planning Secretary and Director General, National Economic and Development Authority

Names and Designations of Church VIPs:

1.     His Eminence Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, O.M.I., Archbishop of Cotabato

2.     His Excellency Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma  S.J., Archbishop of  Cagayan de Oro

3.     His Excellency Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles, Archbishop of Davao

4.     His Excellency Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, S.S.S,  Bishop of Cabanatuan

5.     His Excellency Most Rev. Rodolfo F. Beltran, Bishop of San Fernando De La Union

6.     His Excellency Most Rev. Jose A. Cabantan, Bishop of Malaybalay

7.     His Excellency Most Rev. Bernardino C. Cortez, Prelate of Infanta

8.     His Excellency  Most Rev. Gilbert A. Garcera, Bishop of Daet

9.     His Excellency Most Rev. Angelito R. Lampon, O.M., Vicar Apostolic of Jolo

10.  His Excellency Most Rev Emilio Z. Marquez, Bishop of Lucena

11.  His Excellency Most Rev. Jesse E. Mercado

12.  Rev. Fr. Marvin S. Mejia, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

– Rappler.com

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