Filipinos to attend WYD despite safety issues

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Manila, April 6, 2016 – Despite a leaked report about the “high risk for life and health of people” of World Youth DayKrakow Mass attendees with Pope Francis on July 31, Filipino delegates are joining the international gathering as planned.

According to a TVN 24 television report on April 4, the Government Center for Security assessed the WYD Mass site, which has yet to be disclosed, as lacking proper access and evacuation routes.

Moreover, a major power line running nearby and leaking dikes along the Vistula River pose safety threats as it could turn into a swamp when it rains. The report also said organizers have not mustered sufficient medical support as of yet.

‘Nothing new’

YouthPinoy president Sky Ortigas said reports about safety issues also surfaced during the past WYDs.

Considering the leaked report “nothing new”, Ortigas recalled how the WYD Mass in Brazil got transferred to a different venue at the last minute, still ending up a “grace-filled encounter” nonetheless.

“I trust and believe the WYD organizers are led by the Holy Spirit. I trust that they are doing their best with the planning,” shared the delegate to previous WYDs in Spain and Brazil.

A first-time WYD delegate Analyn Perucho expressed concerns over Pope Francis’ safety but believed Poland will take precautionary measures to keep the youth coming from different countries safe since they have been preparing for 3 years, since the announcement of Poland’s hosting of the 2016 event during WYD Brazil in 2013.

TVN24 said the report was directed to the head of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s office. Szydlo said the report will be used for improving the security of WYD, which is expected to attract 2 million young people.

Work underway

Krakow Auxiliary Bishop Damian Muskus, who coordinates preparations for the event, said the report does not account for recent work done to address the said issues, and organizers are not looking for another site.

“We must do everything to make this site 100 percent safe for the participants and for the Pope. Such solutions exist,” said the prelate. Adding that preparations are underway with paths being built and irrigation works underway, Muskus said part of the power line will be switched off during the event.

The WYD 2016 in Krakow, Poland is set on July 25 – 31, 2016. WYD is a global event for the youth initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and organized by the Roman Catholic Church. (Ronalyn Regino /CBCPNews)

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