Pope Francis arrives in Manila to begin Philippine visit

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 15, 2015 4:38 AM

MANILA (Reuters) - Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines on Thursday, the second and last stop in his week-long Asia tour, to send a message of mercy and compassion to millions of poor Filipinos, including those hit by one of the strongest typhoons to ever hit land.

Asia's most populous Catholic nation mounted its biggest security operation for Francis' visit, deploying nearly 50,000 soldiers and police in the capital and in the central Philippine province of Leyte for his weekend trip there.

Francis is the third pontiff to visit the world's third biggest Roman Catholic country after Brazil and Mexico. About 80 percent of the Philippines' 100 million population are Roman Catholics, accounting for half of Asia's total.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)