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With a mass that drew around six million attendees, some things just can’t be helped.
“The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) revealed that the pilgrims who attended Pope Francis’ mass last Sunday, January 18, damaged about 30% of Rizal Park,” reports Aie Balagtas See in The Philippine Star.
NPDC chief Estrelita Laraya said that “the most damaged part of the park was the area surrounding the Rizal Monument, which is the closest to the Quirino Grandstand.” Aside from the plants around it being uprooted or flattened, seven sprinklers around the monument were also damaged and would need replacing.
The report added: “About 10 gates were damaged and several inner parks, which were purposefully locked, were forced open. Some gates were broken, while some had missing locks. The grills were also bent and the nets protecting the plants were torn down.”
Thus, the park will remain closed until it’s thoroughly cleaned and deemed ready for the public. The NPDC has not yet come up with the total amount of damages incurred.
However, there is a silver lining. Laraya pointed out: “The only thing good about this is no one stole anything. The people were simply on pilgrimage.”