King of Sweden visits street children in Manila and typhoon hit areas
King of Sweden, His Majesty, King Carl XVI Gustaf, visited Manila and the provinces of Laguna and Leyte for a series of Scouting activities. An active advocate of youth development, the King was visiting the Philippines as Patron of Scouting and Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation (WSF).
Highlights of the visit began with a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of the Philippines, HE Benigno C Aquino III at the Malacañang Palace, with the Vice President of the Philippines, H.E. Jejomar C. Binay who is the National President of Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP).
King Gustaf spent the second day with over 8,000 Scouts at the Regional Scout Jamborette in Mt Makiling, Laguna Province. He spoke with the Scouts who proudly displayed their Scout crafts and skills. In appreciation of his support to global Scouting, BSP presented him the Mt Makiling Award, the highest award conferred on heads of state.
Later that day, King Gustaf joined the troop meeting of Ticket to Life Scouts, the children living in the streets of Manila. The children entertained him with a simple performance. Surprisingly, despite tight security protocol, the King went out of his way on foot to see one of the Scouts’ dwelling along a crowded street.
As a continuing support to the TTL project, King Gustaf, on behalf of the World Scout Foundation, presented a cheque of US$100,000 to the entire TTL project operating in different parts of the country.
The Swedish monarch’s concluding trip was in Tacloban City, one of the worst hit areas of Typhoon Haiyan in November last year. He saw the massive devastation which he described as "unbelievable". Local officials briefed him on the ongoing clean up and restoration work. Another US$100,000 was committed to Boy Scouts of the Philippines from the World Scout Foundation to be used for disaster awareness and preparedness program.
World Scout Foundation officials who joined King Gustaf on this visit were Lars Kolind (Regal Circle Member and Committee Member WSF), Fredrik Gottlieb (WSF Treasurer and Regal Circle Member), Sven Philip Sorensen (Regal Circle Member), John Geoghegan (Director of WSF). Dignitaries who supported the visit were Klas Molin (Ambassador of Sweden to Thailand), Bayani S Mercado (Ambassador of the Philippines to Sweden), Albert F del Rosario (Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs), Armin A Luistro (Secretary of Department of Education).
World Scouting was fully involved in supporting and coordinating this visit, with the presence of World Scout Committee Chairman Simon Rhee, WSC Member Prof Abdullah al Fahad, WOSM Secretary General Scott Teare, and Asia-Pacific Regional Director J Rizal Pangilinan in cooperation with the BSP headed by Senior Vice President and Acting Secretary General Wendel E Avisado.