Manila: President Gloria Arroyo says she favours the return of Spanish language subjects in Philippine to enable Filipino students to communicate in a language that is still widely spoken in most parts of the world.

In a speech she delivered in Madrid on the second day of her four-day state visit, Arroyo told Spanish officials and members of the royalty that she wants Spanish language subjects to be taught once more in Philippine schools.

"I have recently signed a directive to our various government educational agencies to promote the teaching and learning of the Spanish language in the whole country," the President was quoted by the Manila-based Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying.

Arroyo, a former member of the academe, said she recognises "the practical and historical importance," of being able to speak the language which until now is still widely spoken around the world.