The PGMA Trip

Article excerpt

THE trip of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to New York, Rome and Paris has greatly enhanced the standing of the Philippines in the international community.

Her address before the general assembly of the United Nations in New York and her keynote speech at the opening of the UNESCO general assembly in Paris are signal honors rarely given to a leader of developing country.

These important speaking engagements have virtually catapulted President Arroyo in the ranks of the top leaders of the world.

We are very proud of all these. The Philippines has not been highlighted in the world stage for a long time, said Maria Barras, a Filipino staffer of the UN for the last 16 years.

The meeting between Pope John Paul II and President Arroyo in Rome has also reinforced the existing strong relations between the Vatican and Manila.

Pope John Paul II gave his spiritual blessings to the Philippines and the Filipino people through President Arroyo in that meeting.

The symbolism of that papal act cannot be lost on the Filipino people, majority of whom are Roman Catholics.

President Arroyo is the annointed one. The Pope just do not bestow his blessings on any head of the state. Previous leaders of the Philippines have sought papal audience and were denied.

In an interview with this columnist at the Pontifico Colegio Filipino in Rome, Jose Cardinal Sanchez said they hope President Arroyo will continue her leadership of the Philippines.

Cardinal Sanchez, who is the highest ranking Filipino in the Roman Curia, was the main celebrant in a mass for the President at the Colegio Filipino. …