Tuesday, January 6, 2015

AFP to deploy 6,000 to 7,000 troops to secure Pope Francis

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 6): AFP to deploy 6,000 to 7,000 troops to secure Pope Francis

The Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) will deploy 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers to secure Pope Francis during his stay and visit to Manila, Tacloban and Palo in Leyte from Jan. 15 to 19.

This is aside from the peacekeeping contingents from the Golan Heights, Liberia and Haiti who recently returned to the country, and the 5,000 reservists who will be mobilized for the event.

AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang during Tuesday's New Year's Call at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, however, clarified that they are yet to detect any security threat for the Pontiff's visit, adding that their greatest concern is the so-called "people surge" or the attempt of the public to get near or personally see Pope Francis at close range.

"(That's why) we are putting up barricades (in the areas he will visit), hopefully, the people will understand that they will all have a chance to get a glimpse of the Pope," Catapang said.

He also reminded the public to avoid putting Pope Francis, who is known to break security protocol to interact with the people, in any "difficult situation."

Despite the lack of security threats, Catapang said that they are looking at every possibility.

"In the military, we call this 'wargaming'," the AFP chief stressed.

Catapang also expressed confidence that the AFP, along with the Philippine National Police, will be able to successfully hurdle the security challenge posed by the Pontiff's visit.


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