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Pope francis's visit to the philippines

The meaning of «pope francis's visit to the philippines»

Pope Francis made a pastoral and state visit to the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015. He was the third pontiff to visit the Philippines and the first in the 21st century and 3rd millennium, after Paul VI in 1970 and John Paul II in 1995.[1][2] Besides Manila, Francis visited Tacloban and Palo, Leyte, to encourage the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby).[3] The Filipinos nicknamed Francis Lolo Kiko ("Grandpa Francis") as a term of endearment, which he commended.[4] Around 6–7 million attended Francis' final Mass at Luneta, surpassing the crowd at World Youth Day 1995 in the same venue and making it the largest papal crowd in history.[5][6][7] The theme of Francis' 2015 visit was "Mercy and Compassion" (Filipino: Habag at Malasakit).

Efforts to get Pope Francis to visit the Philippines began at his enthronement,[1] when Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle personally requested the visit.[8]

In a pastoral letter dated July 7, 2014, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines announced the theme of the papal visit, "A Nation of Mercy and Compassion."[9] The theme was later shortened to "Mercy and Compassion".[8]

Philippine authorities mobilized about 37,500 police and military personnel in Manila, Tacloban, and Palo during the visit: 7,000 from the Armed Forces plus 5,000 reservists, 25,000 police officers, and a 450-man security force recently returned from United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Golan Heights and Liberia. Snipers were also deployed in buildings along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.[3]

The Philippine government coordinated with Interpol and with other Southeast Asian states to monitor people who may have been on Interpol's watch list of those who went to Iraq or Syria to join the Islamic State militant group. "We're touching base with so many allies to ... identify any threat whatsoever coming from any direction," President Benigno Aquino III commented on the coordination efforts.[10]

The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States and the Vatican had also sent intelligence agents to the Philippines to assess the security situation ahead of the papal visit.[11]

On January 22, it was revealed by Philippine authorities that weeks prior to the papal visit a plot to detonate a bomb on the papal convoy by Jemaah Islamiyah was foiled by the Philippine Armed Forces and National Police. The Swiss Guards tasked to guard the pope's personal security were also instrumental in foiling the plot. The plot was confirmed by intelligence counterparts from neighboring countries.[12]

Additional deployment to key areas by the military was made following the foiled attack. Part of the Light Reaction Company, which received training assistance from the United States, and extra military armored assets were deployed during Pope Francis's mass at Luneta. Security forces also made changes to their preparation to mislead potential attackers. The foiled plot was also the reason for the intentional jamming of cellular signals around areas where the pope visited.[12]

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