Pope Francis to ride bulletproof car

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THE POPE’S MOBILE The official car to be used by Pope Francis enters the Manila Cathedral during the dry run of the papal convoy on Tuesday. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

THE POPE’S MOBILE The official car to be used by Pope Francis enters the Manila Cathedral during the dry run of the papal convoy on Tuesday. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

Pope Francis will not have a motorcade from Malacañang to the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila on January 16, according to a Manila Police District (MPD) official.

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MPD Deputy Director Supt. Joel Colonel said the Holy Father will not use the popemobile but will ride in a closed and bulletproof car from the Palace to Intramuros.

However, a popemobile will be with the papal convoy in case the pontiff chooses to interact with the public.

Colonel said the assigned car for Pope Francis “can definitely withstand an attack.”
The Holy Father will have a courtesy visit to the president and will also meet with authorities and the diplomatic corps at 9:15 a.m. at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the Presidential Palace on January 16.

After his meeting with the president, Pope Francis will proceed to the Manila Cathedral for the Holy mass at 11:15 a.m.

Colonel said the area around the Manila Cathedral will be closed until the Pope leaves at 1 p.m.

“As early as 12 midnight of January 16, Friday, the whole area [Intramuros] will be locked down; entrances will be closed. Residents and visitors in the area will be allowed access only through the Victoria gate near the Bay Leaf Hotel, which is at the West side,” he said.

The Anda Circle will also be closed, including General Luna St. and “other areas in the VIP area,” the police said.

Meanwhile, Colonel said contingents of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Presidential Security Group (PSG) will be deployed during the visit of the Holy Father.

He added that they are confident of the Pope’s safety in Intramuros because the crowd of devotees who will be attending the mass were pre-selected.

“Those who will be at the Plaza Roma have also been pre-selected. They are mostly associates and companions of those invited inside the Manila Cathedral. I understand that several bishops together with their companions will be attending the mass. Only the bishops, monsignors and the reverends will be allowed inside,” Colonel added.

He said some snipers from the AFP and PNP, who can adequately secure the Pope, will be deployed in areas where the pontiff will visit.

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