MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines will custom-build a “popemobile” for Pope Francis to travel in during his visit to the fervently Catholic nation in January, organisers said Thursday.
“He is our visitor and we can’t let anything bad happen to him,” the government’s chief protocol officer Marciano Paynor said, adding however that there were “no specific threats”.
Pope Francis, who has shunned the pomp of his predecessors, said earlier this year he prefers to use open-top cars rather than the Vatican’s bulletproof “popemobile” used by previous pontiffs, which he called a “sardine can”.
“It is true something could happen to me but let’s be realistic, at my age I do not have much to lose,” he said in June, adding that the “popemobile” made it hard to connect with the faithful.
Paynor declined to give the specifications of the vehicle to be used in the Philippines for security reasons, but said the pope might opt for an open car for some appearances.