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Pampered police: Manila officers to wear diapers for pope visit

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will test out the diaper scheme during Friday's Black Nazarene event.

By Ben Hooper

MANILA, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Officials in the Philippine capital said traffic officers being deployed during Pope Francis' visit to the country will be outfitted with adult diapers.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the scheme for the pope's Jan. 15-19 visit will be tested out Friday by 2,000 MMDA officers on duty during the Black Nazarene procession.

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The Black Nazarene event involves a wooden image of Jesus Christ being paraded through the streets of Manila.

"We will be giving them these diapers because we don't know when the crowds may rush in," said Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operations.

Carlos said MMDA officers will wear the adult diapers during Friday's procession as a test run for Pope Francis' visit, which is expected to draw enormous crowds to the city.

The official responded to criticism of the diaper scheme in a statement saying officials had performed research before finalizing the plan.

"These diapers are actually being used regularly as standard operating gear for soldiers belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United States Army to fight Talibans in Afghanistan since 2012. Even the Buckingham Palace guards," Carlos said.

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He said Beijing police wore adult diapers during the 2008 Olympics and NASA astronauts wear them during space shuttle launches and reentries.

"It is understandable that the idea may seem ridiculous to a few or maybe a majority, at first glance.  But we need to look at it in its proper perspective, which is its practicality, considering the limited number of portalets in tomorrow's event. The benefits outweigh the negative notion. Some people are quick to deride our efforts. But we at the MMDA take comfort in the fact that we are doing these practical measures to better serve the public," Carlos said. 

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