King of Sweden revisits Tacloban

TACLOBAN CITY, Nov. 22 (PNA) – King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden returned to this city on Saturday to check the ongoing reconstruction of a Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP) Leyte Council building he is funding.

The Swedish monarch, who is the honorary chairman of the World Scout Foundation (WSF), arrived 9:40 a.m. Saturday at the Tacloban Airport, accompanied by top scout officials from the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), WSF, and Boy Scout of the Philippines.

“I’m glad to be back to Tacloban after nearly two years. I’m happy to see the tremendous changes,” the King told reporters in a short press briefing at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.

During his first visit in January 2014, the King has pledged to donate funds for post-“Yolanda” recovery in Leyte province, including the rehabilitation of the BSP Leyte building in this city that was devastated by the 2013 catastrophe. The cost of reconstruction is PhP7 million.

“The building is intended not only to train scouts to become good citizens, but to prepare them for future disaster,” the King added.

After the press briefing, he checked the ongoing rehabilitation of the BSP building, which is up for completion in February 2016.

During his six-hour visit, the King met some local BSP and government officials led by Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla. He also made a short visit to the shipwreck located in Anibong district that has been converted into a memorial park.

With the King were Scott Teare, WOSM secretary general; John Geaghegan, WSF director; Mark Knippenberg, WSF deputy director; Rizal Pangilinan, WOSM Asia-Pacific regional director; Goran Hagerdal, WOSM global director; Wende Avisado, BSP secretary general; and Danilo Asiaten, BSP national executive board member.

Eastern Visayas has 286,027 scout members with 28,564 in Leyte. (PNA)