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23rd January 2015
Bond of brothers from Palo, Leyte, to secure Pope
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on January 23, 2015, 6:58 am
MOTHER AND SONS Three brothers—military chaplain Msgr. Tirso Dolina, police regional director Chief Supt. Asher Dolina and Army Brigade Commander Col. Dinoh Dolina—reunite with their mother Restituta in Palo, Leyte. The brothers are assigned to help provide security for Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s visit to Tacloban today. DANNY PETILLA/CONTRIBUTOR

MOTHER AND SONS Three brothers—military chaplain Msgr. Tirso Dolina, police regional director Chief Supt. Asher Dolina and Army Brigade Commander Col. Dinoh Dolina—reunite with their mother Restituta in Palo, Leyte. The brothers are assigned to help provide security for Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s visit to Tacloban today. DANNY PETILLA/CONTRIBUTOR

Danny Petilla




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PALO, Leyte—In a fortuitous twist of fate, three brothers—a police official, an Army colonel and a military chaplain—have been thrust into the challenge of a lifetime: Securing Pope Francis during his visit on Saturday.

Msgr. Tirso Dolina, 55, chief chaplain of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and his two younger brothers—Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, 53, police regional director for Eastern Visayas, and Col. Dinoh Dolina, 51, commander of the 802nd Army Brigade based in Ormoc City—will lead 15,000 police officers, soldiers and clergymen to ensure the security of the Pope.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics will meet with survivors of last year’s Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) and the 2013 Bohol earthquake as part of his four-day visit to the Philippines.

Born and raised in Palo, the three brothers, all devout Catholics, will also look after the safety of one million pilgrims expected to flock to this small town to see the Pope.

Palo is the seat of the Archdiocese of Palo, whose 76 parishes in Leyte and Samar provinces are home to at least two million Catholics. The town itself has a population of 64,000.

“I waited for a moment like this. My prayers have been answered,” the brood’s 87-year-old mother Restituta said over dinner on Thursday night.

Bemedaled officers

Beaming with pride over her sons, all of them bemedaled officers, the widow recalled how her late husband had always dreamed of military glory for his three sons.

“The failed dream of the father was realized by his fortunate sons,” she said of Leonardo Dolina, a former Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet and a retired policeman, who died on Oct. 16, 2007, when his sons were already moving up in their careers.

The Dolina brothers have a combined service record of 95 years.

“We are so blessed that three of Palo’s sons are involved in these preparations,” said Fr. Chris Arthur H. Militante, social communications director of the Archdiocese of Palo.

“It’s as if the stars in the heavens have aligned and the Dolina brothers are right in the middle of it,” said Francisco Acedillo, 70, a retired Army colonel who knows the three brothers personally.

“This is history in the making. This may not happen again,” added Acedillo, a 30-year veteran and father of Magdalo party list Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo.

Swiss guards

As chief chaplain of the AFP, Monsignor Dolina—a colonel in the AFP’s Technical Administrative Services—will coordinate close-in security with the clergy, the Presidential Security Group and a small contingent of the Swiss Guards, the crack team of Swiss Catholic soldiers who have been guarding Popes since the 15th century.

“This papal visit is a sanctifying moment for all of us. I hope and pray that we live up to the challenge,” said Dolina, a graduate of Sacred Heart Seminary here. Ordained in 1985, he was commissioned as a captain when he entered the Navy in 1989.

Peripheral security

As ground commander of Task Force Francis, Col. Dinoh Dolina is in charge of the peripheral security in the sites to be visited by Francis, including nearby hills, mountains and rivers.

He has deployed 4,000 soldiers, 2,000 reservists and 10 military trucks to make sure that pilgrims get to the sites where they could see the Pope.

“I am humbled but I welcome this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect the Holy Father and serve the people as well,” said the graduate of the PMA Sandiwa Class of 1985.

Crowd control

Colonel Dolina headed Task Group Yolanda in Tacloban following the supertyphoon last year, and secured Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport as disaster workers launched a massive humanitarian drive for the typhoon victims.

Some of the colonel’s troops will again secure the airport, site of the papal Mass at 10 on Saturday morning, which is expected to draw at least a million people.

With 9,000 police officers under his command, Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, who heads Joint Task Force Leyte, is in charge of crowd control.

His job entails a balancing act: How to make sure that security measures are in place without hampering the people’s access to the Pope.

“It’s tricky, but it can be done,” said the graduate of PMA Matikas Class of 1983. Having graduated as well from the British Royal Marine Commando, he is a veritable Green Beret. He is also a lawyer who became chief superintendent in July 2013.

Dolina was part of the crack intelligence team that destroyed the network of international terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who planned the 1995 failed plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II during his Manila visit.

On Thursday night, the three brothers were reunited with their mother at Asher Dolina’s private quarters inside Camp Ruperto Kangleon at Barangay Campetic.

Former seminarians

Like a group of boys with mischief in their eyes, the three teased their mother, a healthy octogenarian, needling her to reveal who among them was her favorite. She ignored them, intent on enjoying her dinner.

As their mother went to bed, her sons—all former seminarians—toasted themselves with a bottle of Double Black Johnny Walker and a slab of grilled liempo with this writer, also a Palo native and a classmate of Colonel Dolina.

“We live to serve (and) embrace our faith deeply,” Monsignor Dolina said. “All these challenges before us will soon come to pass,” the chaplain added.

The Army officer and the police officer are married to government doctors, Asher Dolina to Emie Suanino, 57, and Dinoh Dolina to Susan Tanseco, 51. Both couples have seven sons and a daughter.

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19th January 2015
Record 6 million turn out for pope's final day in Manila
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on January 19, 2015, 12:00 am

(By Associated Press, 19 Januray 2015, 12:00 AM)


A group performs the traditional "sinulog" dance for Pope Francis on Sunday in Manila

MANILA, Philippines -- A crowd estimated at a record 6 million people by officials poured into Manila’s rain-soaked streets and its biggest park Sunday as Pope Francis ended his Asian pilgrimage with an appeal for Filipinos to protect their young from sin and vice so they can instead become missionaries of the faith.

The crowd estimate, which could not be independently verified, included people who attended the pope’s final Mass in Rizal Park and surrounding areas, and lined his motorcade route, said the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Francis Tolentino.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican had received the figure officially from local authorities and that it was a record, surpassing the 5 million who turned out for St. John Paul II’s final Mass in the same park 20 years ago.

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18th January 2015
Pope Francis in Manila: Six million attend outdoor Mass
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on January 18, 2015, 8:46 am

(By Caroline Wyatt, Religious Affairs Correspondent, BBC News | 18 Janury 2015, 8:46 AM)


An aerial view of Rizal Park shows the millions attending Mass 

Pope Francis has celebrated an outdoor Mass in front of unprecedented crowds in the Philippine capital Manila.

Six million people attended the ceremony or lined the Papal route to Rizal Park, city officials estimate.

That would be a record for a papal event. About five million welcomed Pope John Paul II in Manila in 1995.

The Vatican said Pope Francis had dedicated the service in part to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the country in 2013.

The Mass will be the Pope's final full day in the Philippines, where there are 80 million Catholics, concluding his six-day tour of Asia.

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17th January 2015
'Amang' makes landfall in Eastern Samar; Metro Manila under Signal No.1
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on January 17, 2015, 1:42 pm

(By Bong Lozada, Inquirer.net | 5:27 PM, Saturday, 17 January 2015)

MANILA, Philippines—Tropical Storm “Amang” made landfall over Dolores, Eastern Samar, and is traversing Northern Samar Saturday afternoon shortly after Pope Francis left.

In its 5 p.m. weather bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Amang has maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour and gusts of 130 kph while tracking a northwest path at 19 kph.

Pope Francis was in Leyte Saturday morning to celebrate Mass with the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

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16th January 2015
Registered pilgrims for Tacloban airport Holy Mass nearing 80,000
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on January 16, 2015, 7:37 am

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

TACLOBAN CITY, January 16 (PIA) -- The warm bodies that await Pope Francis’ arrival at the DZR airport here where he is going to celebrate what Catholics hold as the highest form of prayer tomorrow, January 17, has almost reached 80,000.

Rev. Fr. Cris Militante of the Palo Chancery Archdiocese said the number of pilgrims registered so far was “going 80,000” and still counting, as young volunteers kept on processing pre-filled-up papers coming in from various parishes all over the region and from other places.

“Everyone is invited, even other faiths,” Militante, a member of the Information and Communications office, disclosed Thursday after the press briefing at the Palo Chancery.

Asked if political leaders will also be attending the Holy Mass at the airport led by the visiting Pope, Militante said that the Archbishop had sent formal invitations to Mayors, Governors, and Congressmen, and they will be seated with the people during the open air engagement at the airport tarmac.

“Let us remember that the Pope is coming here for the victims of Yolanda, and politicians are also victims of Yolanda” Militante said.

During the press briefing, Rev. Fr. Amadeo Alvero, head of the Information and Communications Office, advised the various media outlets covering the event to be at their airport assignment before 6:00 in the morning Saturday for the area will be closed.

After the Holy Mass at the airport by around 10:00 AM, the Pope breaks bread in a lunch with Yolanda survivors at the Palo Archbishop residence, blesses the Pope Francis Center of the Poor by 3:00 PM, and later meets with Priests, Women and Men Religious, Seminarians, and Families of survivors at the Palo Cathedral.

He will depart to Manila by 5:00 PM.

Alvero said journalists intending to cover these events better stay there and pre-positon their paraphernalia hours before to get full access.

“The Holy Father really wants all his activities covered by the media,” Alvero also said. (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)


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