MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived this afternoon from a successful six-day, three-country official and working visits to the Vatican City, Portugal and China to bolster the religious, cultural, diplomatic and economic relations between the Philippines and her host countries.
The President-chartered Philippine Airlines (PAL) Flight PR-001 touched down at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 2:30 p.m. After deplaning, she was escorted by Philippine Army commanding Gen. Romeo Tolentino during a pass-in-review of the troops.
After trooping the line, she was welcomed at the entrance of the Kalayaan Lounge of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing of Villamor Air Base by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Manila International Airport Authority (NAIA) General Manager Alfonso Cusi and other government officials and well-wishers.
After the brief airport reception, the President boarded the presidential car for Malaca?ang.
In Rome, the President had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, where she also attended the canonization rites of Blessed Marie Eugene de Jesus Milleret, Karel Van Sint Andres Houben Szymon z Lipnicy and Georgio Preca.
In Lisbon, Portugal, she paid homage to Our Lady of Fatima and met with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva and Prime Minister Jaime Gama on strengthening the historic ties between the Philippines and Portugal.
On her way back to Manila from Portugal, the President passed by Chengdu City in Sichuan and Chonqing, both in China. (OPS) (davaotoday.com)