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Military steps up security at Sorsogon port

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2015 - 1:59pm

MANILA, Philippines - The military has stepped up security measures in Sorsogon to ensure the safety of pilgrims who want to see Pope Francis in Manila or in Tacloban City.

Col. Cesar Idio, chief of the Army’s 903rd brigade, said around 30 soldiers and one K9 team have been deployed to assist the police and coast guard personnel in securing the Matnog Port.

Another 130 military personnel have also been positioned along the national highway from Castilla, Sorsogon to the Matnog Port to provide road assistance and to conduct route security and checkpoint operations.

The Philippine Navy has also positioned a patrol gunboat in Matnog Port as part of the security measures.

"As far as security is concerned, all travelers, pilgrims and devotees are safe in Sorsogon," Idio said in a statement.

Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya inspected the Matnog Port this morning and met with the police, Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority and local government to finalize the preparations.

He said security forces in the province are ready for the influx of people to Manila and Tacloban.

"I am satisfied with the security preparations and coordination here," Visaya said.

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in the country at 5:45 p.m. today for a five-day visit, which officials have described as a “security nightmare”

Among the highlights of the pontiff’s visit are his lunch with survivors of typhoon “Yolanda” in Leyte on Saturday and the mass at the Rizal Park in Manila on Sunday.

The military and police have given assurances that there are no serious threats to the pope’s safety even as they expressed concerns over the behavior of crowds who will attend the papal sorties.

ARMED FORCES SOUTHERN LUZON COMMAND CESAR IDIO COAST GUARD MANILA AND TACLOBAN MATNOG PORT PHILIPPINE NAVY PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY POPE FRANCIS SORSOGON
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