AFP Central Command ready if Pope Francis drops by Cebu

By Eddie O. Barrita

CEBU CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command (Centcom) based in Camp Lapu-Lapu in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City has made preparations for the possibility that Pope Francis would come to Cebu due to tropical storm Amang.

“We have a contingency plan,” Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar, Centcom commander, said.

Vivar said the Pope would likely stay only at the Mactan Cebu International Airport until the weather improves before proceeding to Tacloban City.

“But who knows? We know the Pope is close to the masses,” he said.

Vivar said the soldiers who are deployed for the Sinulog festivities will be pulled out to secure the Pope in case he wants to roam around Cebu.

“If this happens, Cebuanos will be very happy,” he said.

Earlier, cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said Cebu is ready if Pope Francis drops by the province before going to Tacloban City.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said tropical storm Amang would either make landfall in Legaspi City in the Bicol Region or in Eastern Visayas.

Al Quiblat, chief of Pagasa Mactan, said that if Amang makes landfall in Legaspi City, the cities of Tacloban and Cebu will be hardly affected.

The weather disturbance is feared to affect Pope Francis’s visit to Tacloban City on Saturday and the Sinulog Grand Parade in Cebu City on Sunday. (PNA)