Gov’t considering ‘papal holiday’

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MANILA, Nov. 29, 2014—The government is studying the possibility of declaring the duration of the papal visit a holiday.

In a press briefing held recently in Intramuros, a member of the Papal Visit Central Committee shared such a decision is likely given that the last papal visit—that of Pope St. John Paul II in 1995—had also been a holiday.

Pope Francis (Photo: CNA)

“We are seriously considering [the possibility] and in due time we will announce if there is going to be holidays on those days,” Radyo Veritas cited Marciano Paynor Jr., a former ambassador to Israel, as saying.

“When John Paul II came here a holiday period had also been declared … It is under very serious and close study,” he added.

The holiday declaration aims to avoid the build up of heavy traffic which will affect businesses and jobs.

Moreover, a non-working period will enable Catholics who may want to take part in any of the papal activities to do so.

Meanwhile, the Papal Visit Committee on Accommodations ensured the public that the Holy Father will be billeted in a secure place to be taken care of by local Church officials, but withheld giving specific details.

According to Fr. Jimmy Marquez, the committee’s executive secretary, the exact location would not be made public due to security concerns.

Marquez added the committee is set to meet with the Department of Tourism, as well as the business sector, to discuss reports that some hotels along Roxas Boulevard have allegedly made the forthcoming papal visit an excuse to raise their accommodation rates.

In line with this, the priest appealed to the public to extend hospitality to friends and acquaintances from outside Metro Manila who may want to join the papal activities, to spare them the need to book in hotels.

Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada had earlier announced a five-day, non-working holiday in Manila for Pope Francis’ visit on Jan. 15 to 19.
In an executive order, Estrada declared the suspension of classes and a declaration of a holiday in all the city government offices during the papal visit. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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