GMA'S  DREAM  OF  MEETING  OBAMA  MAY  COME  TRUE  SOON  ENOUGH
 

MANILA, FEBRUARY 4, 2009
(STAR) By Marvin Sy - President Arroyo is still dreaming of meeting US President Barack Obama, and this Thursday, her wish may finally come true when she attends the 57th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Malacañang has confirmed that President Arroyo will attend the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event organized by congressional leaders in Washington every first Thursday of February.

The White House has confirmed that Obama will attend the prayer breakfast as one of the guest speakers.

Even before the US elections, Mrs. Arroyo had wanted to meet Obama when she visited the US on three occasions but never got the chance to do so.

When Obama won the election in November, Mrs. Arroyo reportedly placed two calls to congratulate him on his victory, but was unable to speak to him both times. The two were finally able to talk over the phone last Nov. 18 when Obama returned the calls of three world leaders, including Mrs. Arroyo.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the President has formally accepted the invitation sent by members of the United States Congress last Jan. 31. The President will proceed to Washington from Bahrain. Mrs. Arroyo recently attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and made stops in Italy and Bahrain.

According to Remonde, discussions about the possible attendance of President Arroyo at the National Prayer Breakfast started as early as October last year.

“But it was only at this time that the President decided to accept it and so the invitation was formally sent last Jan. 31,” Remonde said.

Since the end of the World War II, members of the US Congress have been meeting privately to share their personal problems and other matters needing guidance and prayers. It was in 1953 when then US President Dwight Eisenhower attended the prayer breakfast upon the invitation of then Senator Frank Carlson. The meeting has since evolved into the National Breakfast Prayer.

As in previous years, this year’s National Prayer Breakfast will be held at the International Ballroom of the Washington Hilton Hotel.

More than 3,000 dignitaries from the US and overseas, including various world leaders, have been invited to the event.

By tradition, the National Prayer Breakfast has two guest speakers.

This year, one of the speakers is Obama. The identity of the other speaker will be known only during the event.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero, like President Arroyo, is also hoping to meet Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. Escudero was invited by the organizers and left yesterday for Washington.

“We all know how events elsewhere in the world have affected the Philippines. That is why this occasion offers so much opportunity for productive interaction among state leaders. Guided by prayer, we can set aside our differences, confer with one another to find ways to solve problems that threaten our common future,” Esudero said. – With Jose Rodel Clapano


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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