Head of Sovereign Order of Malta in PHL for 7-day visit


The head of the Order of Malta on Sunday began a seven-day official visit to the Philippines that is expected to further strengthen diplomatic relations between the country and the sovereign religious lay group.

Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, will pay a courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino III on March 3.

“Ang pagbisita ng kanyang Most Eminent Highness Festing ay inaasahang ibayong makapagpapatibay ng relasyong diplomatiko sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at ng Sovereign Order of Malta simula nang ito ay maitatag may limang dekada na ang lumilipas,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday.

Festing is the second Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta to visit the Philippines after Fra’ Angelo de Mojana di Colognain in Feb. 1979.

He will hand over a symbolic key to Aquino for the 700 core shelters donated to the Philippines, where 540 units are already completed, 64 units are being constructed, and the remaining 96 units are expected to be completed in May.

Aquino will also confer on Festing the Order of Sikatuna Rank of Grand Collar (Raja) award and citation.

On March 5, Festing and his delegation will head to Basey in Samar to personally visit the 350 core shelters built in the area.

Founded in Jerusalem almost a thousand years ago, the Sovereign Order of Malta is a Roman Catholic order which, according to its website, “works in the field of medical and social care and humanitarian aid, in over 120 countries, supported by the diplomatic relations it currently has with 105 nations.”

The order, through its international assistance arm Malteser International, has been extending assistance to the Philippines.

“Ang Sovereign Order of Malta, sa pamamagitan ng kanilang international assistance arm na Malteser International, ay matagal nang nagkakaloob ng iba’t ibang uri ng tulong sa Pilipinas sa mga partikular na aspeto ng healthcare, hygiene intervention, feeding programs, provision of food supplements at medical supplies, at disaster relief and rehabilitation,” Coloma said.

Source: GMA News

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