The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will put up at least 23,000 concrete barriers along the route Pope Francis will take during his visit to Manila to prevent devotees from blocking his motorcade.
DPWH-National Capital Region (NCR) Director Reynaldo Tagudando said the barriers were meant to prevent a repeat of what happened during the 1995 visit of Pope John Paul 2nd when crowds of devotees spilled into streets, slowing down or stopping John Paul’s motorcade.
Pope Francis will arrive in the Philippines on January 15 and will stay until the 19th.
Tagudando said the barriers will be installed along Roxas Boulevard in Rizal Park, Kalaw, Orosa, the stretch of Roxas until EDSA extension towards Mall of Asia; and around the Manila Cathedral.
Each barrier will be 1.25 meters high, he said.
Tagudando said that not all of the barriers will be built by the DPWH, because some of them were borrowed from the North and South Expressways and Region 4-A.
He said that some of the barriers they have constructed will eventually be used at some of the DPWH’s projects in 2015.
As the pope’s visit nears, government forces worked overtime to finalize security measures for Francis.
In a phone interview on Friday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. involved government agencies worked even during the Christmas and New Year break on the security preparations.
On the possible subjects to be discussed during the President’s meeting with Pope Francis, Coloma said the President is always ready to discuss any issue with the pope.
Coloma mentioned the similarities in the guiding principles of the two leaders, saying that both of them are pro-poor and anti-corruption.
He said that among the President’s major advocacies are achieving inclusive growth for everyone, reducing poverty, and fighting graft and corruption under his righteous path agenda.
Similarly, the pope, in his recent public pronouncements, stressed the need to fight corruption, and tackled the ill effects of capitalism on the poor, Coloma said.