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THE task group assigned to secure the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) is ready for the arrival of Pope Francis’s representative in Cebu tomorrow.

Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said they have already set up their security plans for papal legate Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, who is set to officiate tomorrow’s opening mass.

Yesterday morning, the task group and IEC officials discussed the cardinal’s itinerary in Cebu, including activities that are not related to the IEC.

“He will have some personal visits,” Lawas told reporters.

Bo, who is from the Archdiocese of Yangon, Myanmar, will also lead the closing mass at the South Road Properties on Jan. 31.

Finishing touches

Aside from securing the cardinal, Lawas said the IEC Secretariat has requested close-in security for five high-ranking members of the church.

The police official said they are also extending security to other clergy members.

Police will also secure delegates in groups, added Lawas.

With two days left before the IEC starts, organizers said they are still conducting finishing touches on their preparations.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma told reporters that while they are now 99 percent ready, some things need to be improved like the ID system for delegates.

Palma admitted that they had difficulty distributing IDs during the Theological Symposium, which gave them an insight on how to improve the system during the congress proper.

“I believe the challenge of really finalizing the ID is also a big task. Somehow, that has to be really finalized,” Palma said.

Last-minute pressure

In a separate interview, Msgr. Joseph Tan of the 51st IEC Media Liaison Office said that while majority of the aspects of the activity are ready, they are still conducting technical reviews, particularly at the Eucharistic Pavilion.

He said they want to ensure all technical aspects of the preparation will be in place during the congress proper.

He also admitted that some of their volunteers have been on constant pressure.

Tan urged the public to pray for organizers and volunteers to have the patience to work without pressure.

In a related development, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 will deploy some of its personnel for the weeklong event.

Maria Evelyn Macapobre, DSWD 7 director, said they have committed to deploy 60 personnel, mostly social workers, to man the help desk for lost and found children in various outdoor activities during the congress.

Source: Sunstar Cebu


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