Malacañang on Sunday said the government is considering a proposal to declare the days of Pope Francis’ visit to the country as non-working holidays.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the declaration is being eyed as a measure to ensure the safety of the pontiff.
Coloma told state-run dzRB radio that the move is aimed at ensuring smoother traffic flow on roads that papal motorcades will use, as well as at giving the people the opportunity to witness mass media coverage of all events related to the papal visit from their homes.
Last week, mayors of Metro Manila (National Capital Region) called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd to declare January 15 to January 19 next year—during Pope Francis’ visit to the country—as non-working holidays.
In a resolution, the Metro Manila Council (MMC) composed of the NCR mayors and which acts as the policy-making arm of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said the pope’s visit is expected to cause traffic gridlocks brought by influx to Metro Manila of the faithful from the provinces.
“All government agencies and all Filipinos are encouraged to help ensure the successful visit of Pope Francis to our country. The visit of Pope Francis is expected to induce traffic congestion brought about by congregation of devotees and well-wishers,” the MMC resolution read.
It said security arrangements for the pope’s visit would also be better managed if the days of the visit would be declared as non-working public holidays.
“In order to enhance the security preparations and to ensure the safety of Pope Francis and the public, as well as encourage participation in the planned activities during the papal visit, the Metro Manila Council recognizes the need to declare January 15 to 19, 2015 as non-working holidays in Metro Manila,” the resolution said.
The local government of Manila earlier declared suspension of classes in all levels and work in government offices in the city during the papal visit.
Executive Order 75 signed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada states that the suspension of work in government offices and classes has been recommended “to ensure public order and convenience.”
Among the venues in Manila to be visited by the Pope are Malacañang, Manila Cathedral, University of Santo Tomas and Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park (Luneta).