His Holiness Pope Francis waves to the millions of pilgrims at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park, Manila after officiating the Holy Mass on Sunday (Jan. 18), which capped his five-day (Jan. 15-19) visit to the Philippines. (MNS photo)

His Holiness Pope Francis waves to the millions of pilgrims at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park, Manila after officiating the Holy Mass on Sunday (Jan. 18), which capped his five-day (Jan. 15-19) visit to the Philippines. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 19 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang has given its agencies a pat on the back following the successful state visit and apostolic journey of Pope Francis to the Philippines despite fears for his security.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, “We finally thank the members of lead government agencies for effectively carrying out their tasks during this historic visit: from the thousands of police on the ground, the Presidential Security Group and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and to the many law-enforcement and government personnel that provided necessary support throughout the Pope’s visit.”

“The gratitude of the Filipino people extends to those not directly involved with the Pope’s security – those who manned different posts, as their colleagues were reassigned to safeguard the welfare of Pope Francis and of the many who came out to see him.”

The pope’s security had consumed most of the government’s preparations for the visit, which included the deployment of thousands of security personnel, road closures, as well as the jamming of mobile phone signals.

The Pope waived the use of a bullet-proof pope mobile as a condition for his visit to the country.

This morning, Pope Francis departed for Rome after concluding his five-day visit.

Malacanang also lauded the public for its solidarity in ensuring the safety of the Pope.

“From the thousands who patiently lined the route of the papal motorcade; to the organizations that encouraged mindfulness and helped maintain order during the public engagements of the Pope; and to the millions who participated in the papal activities. We recognize the dedication of the different church groups that worked hand-in-hand with government. Their cooperation, as they kept in mind advisories for all the events, contributed to fostering an organized and peaceful papal visit.”

Reports estimate that as many as six million people were in the Quirino Grandstand for the concluding mass on Sunday. (MNS)