Roxas: Gov’t not revealing crucial information on Pope and faithful’s security
MANILA, Philippines – Is the government revealing too many details in its plan to secure Pope Francis?
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II doesn’t think so.
“Hindi naman lahat ng baraha ng gobyerno ay (nakalabas),” he said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM on Thursday.
(The government hasn’t revealed all its cards.)
Pope Francis is set to arrive later in the day for his five-day visit to the Philippines, which has been described as Asia’s bastion of the Catholic faith. He is expected to be mobbed by millions of people, especially during the concluding mass at Rizal Park on Sunday.
For the past weeks, the government has held press briefings on the preparations and security plans for the papal visit, the fourth since 1970. It has also released maps on the motorcade routes.
“Yung transparency pinag-isipan yan at pinag-usapan din ng security services ng ating bansa. Mas mabuting na alam nung mga kababayan natin ano yung ruta, ano yung paghahanda,” Roxas explained.
(The issue of transparency was something that was considered and discussed by the country’s security services. It is better that the public is aware of the motorcade route and the other preparations.)
Roxas said they preferred that the public was not kept in the dark, especially since crowd behavior is one of the main threats they are facing.
Questions and uncertainty, he said, might result in untoward events like stampedes.
The Secretary clarified that they have not revealed crucial information, such as the positions of snipers. News about that, he said, would not come from the government.
Roxas said they have to secure both the Pope and the public.
“’Yung risk or threat to his person (Pope Francis) is a different kind of threat…pero equal sa milyun-milyon na tao na baka masaktan, baka ma-stampede,” he said.
(The risk or threat to his person is a different kind of threat…but it is equal to the threat against the millions of people who may be hurt during the visit.)
He reminded the public to stay calm and ensure the safety of the people around them.
“We are our brother’s keeper,” he said.
Roxas also dismissed reports that shanties or destitute communities were being covered so as not to be seen by Pope Francis.
“There’s no such thing,” he said.
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