The Government of Panama today presents the broad national plan for public security for the World Youth Day (WYD), when thousands of young people from all over the planet are already waiting for the arrival of Pope Francis.
The Panamanian Presidency advanced the announcement, scheduled for tomorrow, and takes care of all the details of the deployment of thousands of security agents, lifeguards and immigration personnel to address the expeditious access of pilgrims to all border posts.
The international airport of Tocumen, the ports of the Atlantic and the Pacific, the three border posts with Costa Rica, are the main access roads to the country.
Young people who have already arrived in Panama are distributed throughout the country in foster homes, parishes and educational centers.
The archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa, told reporters that 100,000 young people have already been confirmed with their full registration as pilgrims and another 50,000 are in the process, but they are expected to multiply their arrival, even without registration, to participate in the WYD.
The World Youth Day will take place from January 22 to 27 in the Panamanian capital with the presence of Pope Francis, the bishops of Central America, seven presidents and an estimated 350,000 young people from abroad, plus Panamanians.
At least 30,000 units of Panama's police forces were unified in a security plan that will shield the Panamanian capital and Pope Francis during the World Youth Day (WYD) with the support of the Italian Gendarmerie, official sources explained today.
The Panamanian Deputy Minister of Security, Omar Pinzón, appeared today before journalists to detail the wide deployment that will surround the celebration of WYD, when thousands of young foreigners are already distributed throughout the country.
WYD will take place from January 22 to 27 in the Panamanian capital with the presence of Pope Francis, the bishops of Central America, seven presidents and an estimated 350,000 young people from abroad, plus Panamanians.
Pinzón said at a press conference that the State security forces "have strengthened their capabilities to ensure the well-being of citizens, pilgrims, visitors, Pope Francis and the Heads of State and special guests who will be in Panamanian territory", during the largest open conclave of Catholics worldwide.
The vice minister explained that after President Juan Carlos Varela created the Executive Directorate of Support for WYD, "Panamanian" security professionals "committed themselves to studying, analyzing and preparing a security plan that would guarantee the peace” for all during the event.
The National Police, the Institutional Protection Service, the National Border Service, the National Aerial and Naval Service, the Security Council, the National Immigration Service, the National Customs Authority and the Ministry of Security all joined the plan.
He detailed that during the WYD more than 30,000 units will maintain the national security "with the aim of implementing some 57 action plans that contemplate aspects such as: Intelligence, Protection, Telecommunications, Facilities, Routes, Mobility and Crisis Management".
"You can be sure that we have considered all the necessary aspects to guarantee quick actions in aspects of Security at the national level both in the events that take place within the Pre-Day and other massive events", said Pinzón.
The Pre-Day will be held this week in all the dioceses of the country, plus Costa Rica, where the pilgrims know the local culture and carry out pastoral work.
He said that starting on January 21, the "C5", a center for control, command, communication, computing and quality that seeks to protect citizens will begin its functions.
For his part, the commissioner Domingo Espitia, coordinator of the Interagency Task Force San Miguel Arcángel, said that the 57 action plans on security will be applied in the Pre-Day in borders, airports and ports.
In addition, in the protection of the pontiff, of the Heads of State, in the central events (Coast Promenade, Metro Park, Omar Park and other parks), in the collection centers for the population, vital sites (Water Treatment and Hydroelectric), terminals of transport, shops and tourist places.
Deputy Commissioner Nicolás Carrasco, of the Institutional Protection Service, explained that the team of Protection of Dignitaries will deploy "a device of protection and security to His Holiness Pope Francis, Heads of State, Cardinals, Bishops, First Ladies and special guests who participate in WYD-2019".
This plan will start from the arrival in the airports, hotels and activities during the participation in the different events, until the departure from Panamanian territory of the last delegation.
The planning seeks to "minimize risks, neutralize threats and strengthen the good image and positioning of the nation in the global context", he added.
For His Holiness will be the "coordination between the Gendarmerie and a selected body of Panamanian protectors who have the responsibility to mitigate" all potential threats.
The police forces have also combined operations at the borders of Panama with Colombia and Costa Rica, the places the pope will visit and the massive activities centers of the WYD, access routes and "critical points".
In addition, migration posts were reinforced, modernized and expanded, and with Costa Rica they decided to join forces and to use a unique seal of access to the country.
The officials also gave recommendations for personal care to pilgrims, the environment, the use of sun block creams and glasses for morning events and warned that it is prohibited to carry any type of weapon and consume alcoholic beverages in the area of events.