25,000 cops deployed for Luneta Pope Francis Mass
MANILA, Philippines – At least 25,000 police officers are being deployed in the Luneta area, site of the Pope's closing Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Sunday, January 18.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the number could actually be more as police officers assigned to secure the University of Sto Tomas (UST) area, where the Pope's "Encounter With the Youth" was held earlier in the day, could be ordered to move.
As if 11 am, the crowd estimate was placed at 4 million. Notwithstanding rain, this is likely to balloon to as many as 6 million once the Pope arrives at about 3:15 pm. The grandstand can accommodate only 300,000 people.
He is scheduled to celebrate Mass at 3:30 pm, possibly earlier, but will go around the Quirino Grandstand area in his popemobile before going up the stage.
The Mass will be said in English and Filipino, with Prayers of the Faithful being said in 6 dialects – Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Ilokano, Cebuano, Waray and Bikolano.
Early Sunday morning, the crowd waiting to gain access to the Quirino grandstand became unruly and disorganized.
Mass goers breached security barriers as early as before 6 am, filling the street leading to the Orosa entrance, the sole entry for the public Mass. 30 metal detectors and screening machines had been set up in Orosa.
By past 7 am, National Capital Region chief Police Director Carmelo Valmoria arrived in the area to clear the road. – Rappler.com