TACLOBAN CITY-The management of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is considering the possibility of imposing a “no flight zone” policy during the visit to Leyte of Pope Francis next year.
However, this policy would depend also on the recommendation of security people, said Efren Nagrama, area manager of CAAP whose office manages the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport.
It was earlier reported by Archbishop John Du of the archdiocese of Palo in Leyte that Francis is to arrive in this city on January 17, 2015 and will hold his papal Mass at the concreted area of the airport.
The area of four hectares is the proposed new apron of the Tacloban Airport which sustained damages during the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda more than nine months ago.
“That is a possibility but it will depend on the recommendations of the security people like the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines0,” Nagrama said on the imposition of the no flight zone at the airport.
“I’m sure they are also considering that possibility for security reason,” he added.
Nagrama said that the possible imposition of the no flight zone during the more than six hours visit of the Pope in Leyte would be part of the security preparations.
He also said that during the papal Mass, there could be “no movement” within the airport’s exit and entry roads.
The CAAP official added that the parking area of the airport could also be used for the expected hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
At present, there are 2 daily flights at the Tacloban Airport with about 5,000 passengers on a daily basis.
Father Amadeo Alvero, spokesperson of the Palo archdiocese, said that they welcome on the possibility of imposing a no flight zone at the airport.
“If it is part of the security and safety of Pope Francis and the faithful who will welcome him on his planned visit, then it would be a good to have a no flight zone,” Alvero said.
“It is our hope that people would understand such measure undertaken by proper authorities on public safety security,” he added.
If plan will push through, the Holy Father will arrive at the DZR Airport in the morning and will hold a 10 a.m. Mass at the paved area.
He will then proceed to the nearby town of Palo to join 30 poor people, most of them survivors of Yolanda. The other selected people who will join a launch with the Pope were five people who came from Bohol that experienced a massive earthquake and five others from northern Cebu.
He will also inaugurate the Pope Francis Center for the Poor and meet with the clergy at the Palo Cathedral or the Our Lord’s Transfiguration.xxx