Papal visit thrills Leyte-based journalists

November 24, 2014 11:36 am 

TACLOBAN CITY, Nov. 24 — Even local journalists, used to meeting high profile personalities, are also excited on the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis to Tacloban and the nearby town of Palo.

The papal’s visit is billed as both a pastoral and a state visit he, being the head of Vatican City, the world’s smallest state.

For Joey Gabieta, editor-in-chief of Leyte Samar Daily Express (LSDE) and correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said that as a journalist, covering Pope Francis is a lifetime experience. "I believe it is good that the Pope will be visiting Tacloban and Leyte."

“His presence alone will give a morale boost to still weary people from the wrath of Yolanda and gives spiritual upliftment,” Gabieta said.

Fr. Cris Arthur Militante, Palo archdiocese information and social communications officer, said that 4,000 journalists from around the world are expected to cover the visit of Pope in the country.

“But we make sure the media in Region 8 will be accredited and cover the major events in three venues of the Pope’s visit,” Militante added.

As for Ormoc City-based veteran reporter Lalaine Jimenea, publisher and editor-in-chief of EVMail newspaper, the Papal’s visit is “big news.”

“As a Catholic, I love him as a Pope and I count myself as lucky to have lived at his time. I hope security measures are tight considering we are almost connected to Mindanao. However, if I was just a layman and not a journalist, I would rather stay in the comfort of my house and watch him on TV,” Jimenea said.

Ronald Reyes, columnist of LSDE and correspondent of online ucanews.com, said that he is preparing for the historic event.

Also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, Reyes said that the pope’s visit “will surely bring impact and influence to the lives of the many Filipinos particularly the disaster victims.”

“It is both a humbling and exciting experience to document about his visit in the country knowing the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church,” Reyes, who also works as a correspondent of Manila Standard Today, said.

This observation of Reyes was also shared by journalist Eileen Nazareno Ballesteros, also of LSDE.

“It is awe- inspiring for the journalists of Eastern Visayas to be disseminating the details of the visit when they happen and right where they occur. It is a rare chance given to the local newsmen to be an instrument and avenue in spreading the message of Pope, a Vicar of Christ to the people,” she said.

Maasin City-based Marcelo Pedalino of the state-owned Philippine Information Agency (PIA), said Pope Francis ‘visit to Leyte is such a humbling and touching act to personally console the survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda.

Pope Francis will arrive in Tacloban City on January 17 for a seven-hour visit where he will hold mass at the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport and will motor his way to the nearby town of Palo where he will be meeting with Yolanda survivors at the archbishop palace and inaugurate the Pope Francis Center for the Poor. He will also meet religious leaders and seminarians at the Palo Cathedral.(PNA)

FPV/SQM/VICKY C. ARNAIZ/JSD

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