3 March 2015
President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Malacañan Palace on his Official Visit to the Philippines.
In their meeting, Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing handed over to President Aquino the symbolic key of the newly-constructed 700 homes for the victims devastated by super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Basey, Eastern Samar and Bantayan Island, Cebu donated by the Sovereign Order of Malta.
“We stand by our commitment to work with your people, accompanying the delivery of goods and the construction of infrastructures with solidarity and brotherhood, embodied in our shared values,” Fra’ Matthew Festing said.
Following the ceremony, President Aquino conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the Rank of Grand Collar (Raja) to Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing while the latter, likewise, conferred the Order Pro Merito Melitensi, Grade of Collar to President Aquino.
In his message, President Aquino acknowledged and recognized the invaluable support and assistance that the Sovereign Order of Malta has extended to the Philippines during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and during super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that claimed thousands of lives in its onslaught. Both leaders also expressed enthusiasm to strengthen partnerships and bilateral ties between the two governments especially with the Order planning to establish a regional office in Southeast Asia.
Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing is scheduled to visit Basey, Eastern Samar on Thursday (March 5) as part of his six-day Official Visit in the country. The event also coincides with the 50th year anniversary of the friendship and bilateral relations between the Philippines and the Order of Malta.
Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing is the 79th elected Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
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