By: Rodrigo S. Victoria
TACLOBAN CITY – A top official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 8 revealed to members of the media in a press briefing the final security plans for the visit of Pope Francis in Leyte on Saturday, January 17.
The schedule of activities of the Pope Francis in Leyte on January 17 include the holding of a Holy Mass at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in San Jose, Tacloban City at around 10:00 o’clock in the morning, lunch with some of the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda at the Archbishop’s Residence in Palo, Leyte at 12:45 o’clock in the afternoon, blessing of the Pope Francis Center for the Poor at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon and meeting with the priests, religious men and women, seminarians, and families of the survivors at the Cathedral of Palo at 3:30i n the afternoon.
PCSupt.Cedrick G.Train, deputy regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 8 informed that an estimated 9,000 PNP personnel plus 4,000 AFP personnel were already deployed in the different areas in Leyte to provide security and to help maintain peace and order for the duration of the Papal visit in Leyte.
The PNP personnel and other personnel from the AFP have conducted simulation and dry run drills on January 14 and 15 in areas which are part of the Pope’s itinerary to ensure the safety and security of the Papal visit in Leyte, he informed.
He also appealed for the cooperation, sobriety and understanding of the public for the little inconvenience brought about by the Papal visit activities.
Meanwhile, Train disclosed that all identified entrance points going to Tacloban City from Southern Leyte and Biliran provinces, Ormoc City and Samar area provinces will be closed to the public commuters whose travel has no connection to the Papal visit at 6:00 o’clock in the evening of Friday, January 16 while all routes for the Papal motorcade are closed by 5:30 in the afternoon also on Friday, January 16. However, he said vehicles of pilgrims and members of media with valid and proper identification documents and vehicle pass are allowed to enter in these routes.
Public commuters coming from Southern Leyte province going to Tacloban City will take the Tanauan—Dagami-Pastrana-Sta.Fe-Tigbao,Diit routes and vice-versa; and from Ormoc City and Biliran province going to Tacloban City will take the Barugo-Babatngon-Tigbao,Diit routes and vice-versa.
Public commuters coming from Samar area provinces going to Southern Leyte will take the Tigbao,Diit—Babatngon- Sta.Fe-Pastrana-Dagami-Tanuan routes and vice-versa; and from Samar area provinces to Ormoc City and Biliran province will take the Tigbao,Diit-Babatngon-Barugo routes and vice-versa.
The identified entrance stop points are Tanauan, Leyte for public commuters coming from Southern Leyte province; Sta.Fe, Leyte for public commuters coming from Ormoc City and Biliran province; and San Juanico Bridge for public commuters coming from the Samar provinces area, the PNP official said.
Here in Tacloban City, the San Jose Rotunda, Coca-Cola and Angelicum junctions will be closed to public commuters effective 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon of Friday, January 16 until January 17 and will be lifted one hour after the Pope has left Tacloban back to Manila. # (fj/RSV/PIA 8 Biliran)