What can Pope Francis expect in the Philippines?
The Philippines already has experience in welcoming pontiffs. Back in 1995 John Paul II visited the country for World Youth Day, where more than 4 million pilgrims took part. But that was 20 years ago, so what can Pope Francis expect now? ; He is sure to receive a warm welcome. Christianity has a strong presence in the country. It has a population of about 100 million people, out of which 80 percent is Catholic. ; The Asian country is still struggling with poverty though, especially in its rural areas. About 16 million Filipinos are estimated to be living in extreme poverty. ;Despite the setbacks, the World Bank says that if the nation continues its rate of economic growth, it can practically eliminate poverty within one generation. Because of the close proximity the Philippines has with other Asian countries, there have been territorial disputes with China, Vietnam, Malaysia, specifically regarding the Kalayaan Islands. ; A main point of the Pope's visit will focus on the devastation the typhoon triggered. Fishing and agriculture are two main sources of income in the country, both of which were greatly affected by the natural disaster that devastated the region. ; KLH ; RR JM -PR Up: MPI