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MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of Pope Francis’ last mass in the Philippines, people are already camping out to be part of the afternoon event.
Controlling the crowds and maintaining the security of the Pope will be the government’s biggest tests yet during his 5-day visit.
Bea Cupin reports.
We’re here at Maria Orosa street, the public’s entry point if they want to attend Pope Francis’s concluding mass on Sunday, January 18
Some 700 thousand people will be going through this gate which opens at 6am and closes at 1:30pm.
There are 30 metal detectors, and it’s guarded by security forces.
It’s past 7 on Saturday, the gates won’t open until 6am tomorrow but already hundreds, possibly thousands of people are camping outside.
This is the biggest public event in the pope’s 5 day visit to the Philippines. Understandably, it’s the biggest secuirty and logistics ordeal for government officials.
Only 700 thousand people will be allowed in the secured area facing the quirino grandstand but government officials expect some 6 million Filipinos will troop to Luneta park and the streets surrounding it — surpassing the record set the last time a pope visited the Philippines in 1995.
Back then 5 million attended a mass led by Saint John Paul 2. The streets surrounded Quirino were filed with people, forcing government to airlift the pope to Luneta.
Security plans will be put to the test on Sunday and security officials hope to avoid the mistakes of 1995. – Rappler.com