In Aquino’s message to the public on the arrival of Pope Francis, dated January 12, he called on the public “to exercise utmost discipline…cooperate with authorities…remain vigilant, take all precautions necessary…keep calm; do not push; do not run.”
“It is as if instead of a joyous affair, the President and Malacanang are expecting chaos to ensue. This is not a very welcoming message to the Pope and it sends a message to the international community that the Filipino people are nothing but an unruly bunch,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Martinez said that Aquino may also be pre-empting expected activities appealing to the Pope to heed the cries of the poor and oppressed Filipino people against wrongdoings in government.
“Aquino knows too well that the Papal visit will once again bring the Philippines under international scrutiny. He cannot have the Pope, a staunch advocate against corruption and greed, denouncing transgressions in his government. With this statement, Aquino may well be attempting to prevent international humiliation by passing off well-meaning welcomers as nothing but rowdy, undisciplined hooligans.”
Martinez said Aquino “is nothing like the Pope who is much-loved by the Filipino people”.
“Unlike the anti-poor Aquino, Pope Francis has high regard for the masses. He is humble enough to listen to the cries and pleas of the people and to speak on their behalf. He is open to dialogue and gives primacy to the interests of the poor and oppressed. This is why Aquino is loath to have him see the sentiments and real conditions of the Filipino people under his presidency.”
Migrante International is part of the multisectoral People’s Committee to Welcome the Pope (People’s Welcome) which will holding series of activities in time for the Papal visit on January 15-18, 2015. ###