MMDA: 892,000 well-wishers expected to welcome Pope Francis
MANILA, Philippines—Pope Francis will be welcomed by a sea of people when he arrives in the country late Thursday afternoon.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said that they are expecting 892,000 Filipinos or 40,000 people per kilometer will show up on roads which will form the motorcade route of the pope from Villamor Airbase in Pasay City to the Apostolic Nunciature in the City of Manila.
The main route of the pope’s motorcade, which spans 22.30 kilometers, will start at the Gate 5 of the Villamor Airbase and will pass through the following roads: Andrews Avenue, Domestic Road, Naia Road, Roxas Boulevard, Quirino Avenue, and Taft Avenue to the Apostolic Nunciature.
“Ang estimate po natin ay sa bawat kilometro ay kasya po ang 20,000 tao. Mayroon po tayong dalawang lane, iyon po ay 40,000 tao na,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in a press briefing.
(Our estimate is that every kilometer can accommodate 20,000 people. Since roads have two lanes, it can now accommodate 40,000 people already.)
With the large crowds expected to turn out to welcome the Pope, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said that it is expecting the public to observe proper decorum and remain calm to avoid sparking commotion.
“Let us remain calm at all times, respect one another and not push each other,” Coloma said in Filipino.
Coloma emphasized that the Pope’s visit to the Philippines is a rare opportunity to showcase the goodness and strong devotion of Filipinos to the Roman Catholic faith.
Pope Francis is set to arrive in the country at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday from his two-day visit from Sri Lanka.