Order of Malta head to visit PH
MANILA, Philippines – The head of the Sovereign Order of Malta – one of the world's oldest Catholic religious orders and also a sovereign entity – will conduct a week-long official visit to the Philippines beginning Sunday, March 1, Malacañang said.
The visit of Fra' Matthew Festing, the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Sovereign Order of Malta or SOM) marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and SOM.
Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a statement on Saturday, February 28, that Festing will meet with President Benigno Aquino III and will visit the SOM shelter program in Samar during his visit from March 1 to 7.
During Festing's bilateral meeting with Aquino, he will hand over the symbolic key for SOM's donation of core shelters in Basey, Samar, and Cebu.
The shelters, which are in various stages of development, are expected to be completed by end-May.
The SOM official delegation will also meet with Vice President Jejomar Binay, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin.
On March 5, Festing and his delegation will visit Basey to check on SOM's donation of 350 core shelters.
Festing, an Englishman, will be the second Prince and Grand Master of the SOM to visit the Philippines, following the visit of Fra’ Angelo de Mojana di Cologna in February 1979.
According to the SOM's official website, the Rome-based SOM "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 also runs hospitals, medical centers, day hospitals, nursing homes for the elderly and the disabled, and special centers for the terminally ill. In many countries the Order’s volunteer corps provide first aid, social services, emergency and humanitarian interventions," it said. – Rappler.com