MANILA, Philippines, AUG. 26, 2002 ( John Paul II will not travel to the Philippines next January after all.

Cardinal Jaime Sin, archbishop of Manila, announced the news through his spokesman today.

Recent reports mentioned that the Pope would possibly visit Manila from Jan. 23-26 to attend the World Meeting of Families.

"The Vatican has conveyed to the archbishop of Manila the sad news that His Holiness Pope John Paul II will not be able to attend the World Meeting of Families in Manila," a statement issued by Cardinal Sin's office explained.

The Vatican Press Office, directed by Joaquín Navarro-Valls, did not comment on the announcement. He alluded to the possibility of the trip during the Pope's recent visit to Poland.

Monsignor Renato Boccardo, the organizer of papal trips, later explained to journalists that the planning of such a journey would take six months and several visits on his part to the Philippines. To date, he had not made any preliminary trips.

Another sign came from John Paul II himself on Saturday when he announced, through the Vatican Press Office, the appointment of Colombian Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo as "legate to the celebrations of the fourth World Meeting of Families in Manila."

According to canon law, a legate is an important prelate whom the Pontiff delegates to represent him before states, international organizations, and Catholic communities, as well as at important events.

Previous World Meetings of Families were held in 1994 and 2000, in Rome; and in 1997, in Rio de Janeiro.