Philippines considers jeepney as ‘Popemobile’

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MANILA, August 23, 2014–A jeepney-inspired popemobile is among the possible options for the “Popemobile”.

Henrietta de Villa, a former Philippine ambassador to the Vatican and part of the preparatory committee, said there are varied suggestions and they are studying all the possible options.

“Nothing is fixed yet,” De Villa said. “I’m not actually the one in charged of this but I think there are suggestions for a jeepney that is open on top,” De Villa said.

According to her, the idea derived from the pope’s recent visit to South Korea where he rode a simple locally-built car.

“So maybe it would be better for him to use jeepney here,” she said.

Known for his sincerity and modesty, Pope Francis has asked for a compact car as his vehicle throughout his visit in South Korea.

De Villa said the pope did not make the same request for the Philippine as “all arrangements will still be finalized” this coming November.

He said the Vatican team who inspected proposed itineraries for the papal visit in Manila and Leyte last July is coming back to the Philippines to “formalize” the plans including the choice of popemobile.

Should the Vatican protocol officials approve the use of a jeepney as the pope’s wheels, De Villa said two months before the papal visit is still an ample time to build the popemobile.

“I don’t think that will be a problem because if ever we have two months to make it, we can make it. It’s not a problem,” De Villa said.

Jeepneys are the most common and the cheapest form of public transportation in the Philippines.

Pope Francis is set to visit the Philippines for the first time on January 15 to 19, 2015. Among his expected itineraries include a visit to victims of super typhoon Yolanda in Leyte. (CBCPNews)

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