International news agencies confirmed that Pope Francis will visit the Philippines in January next year.
The official Twitter page of the Catholic News Service (CNS) said the Pope had confirmed his visit to the country next year while he was on the papal plane, returning from Jerusalem.
“Breaking: #PopeFrancis to meet with abuse victims, confirms trip to #Philippines, #Sri Lanka,” the CNS said.
Reports also quoted The Associated Press as reporting that the Pope will travel to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Fr. Marvin Mejia, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), however, said they are still waiting for official communication from the Vatican concerning the pontiff’s visit.
“The Secretariat has not yet received any official communication from the Vatican or [Apostolic] Nunciature,” Mejia told reporters on Tuesday.
But Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is confident that Pope Francis will fly to Manila to visit areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2- magnitude earthquake in Central Visayas last year.
“The Vatican has not yet announced the dates and specific itinerary that the pope will observe, but I am confident it will happen early next year,” Tagle said in an interview with the CNS.
“I think one of the purposes of the visit of the Holy Father is to come close to the people who suffered from the recent typhoon and the earthquake,” he added.