MANILA (DWDD) – Senator Loren Legarda said she looks forward to further deepening the ties between the Philippines and France as the two nations commemorate this year the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-France diplomatic relations.
Legarda made the statement during the meeting of Philippine Senators with visiting French senators of the France-Southeast Asia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.
“The Philippine Senate recognizes the importance of our country’s partnership with France which has substantially complemented our nation’s efforts in addressing current global challenges,” said Legarda, a founding member of the Philippines-France Parliamentary Friendship Association.
The Senator, who chairs the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Finance and a Global Champion for Resilience of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), thanked the French Government for rallying nations to craft and support the Paris Agreement on Climate Change during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
She said that the Philippines is working on its ratification of the Paris Agreement following the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he will honor the Agreement after discussions with his Cabinet.
“The President is for climate justice, he expects a fair and equitable implementation of the Agreement. Since the Philippines is a minor emitter of greenhouse gases but among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts, it must be given technical and financial assistance to cope with the risks. The President has declared his support for the Agreement and his economic team supports it as well,” Legarda said.
“We hope that with the leadership of Senate President Koko Pimentel, we can concur in the ratification of the climate agreement this year once the Office of the President transmits it to the Senate. We also hope that France will continue its role of championing climate action and helping ensure that commitments are carried out, especially by the developed nations to the developing climate-vulnerable countries,” she added.
Legarda also explained that the Philippines is undertaking climate mitigation measures, particularly through the implementation of the Renewable Energy (RE) Law, and said that the country would welcome RE models and other best practices from France.
The Senator thanked the French Government for its various programs with the Philippine Government, including the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System – Phase 2 (PHILO Project), currently being reviewed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The project aims to improve the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (BFAR) existing integrated marine environment monitoring system by ensuring that the country’s various conservation laws, guidelines, rules and regulations are complied with and implemented in Philippine waters including its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and coastal areas via the Regional Fisheries Monitoring Centers.
The French delegation was headed by the Honorable Senator, Gèrard Miquel, and was joined by Senators Bernard Saugey, Jean-Claude Lenoir, Simon Sutour and the secretary of their delegation, Madam Anne-Laure Saint-Dizier.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III led the Philippine Senate delegation and was joined by Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, and Senators Legarda, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
French Ambassador to the Philippines, Thierry Mathou, Philippine Ambassador to France, Ma. Theresa Lazaro, and Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of European Affairs head, Cleofe Natividad were also present at the meeting.
On January 25, 2017, the French Embassy in Manila will launch the “PhilFrance: Feel French”, a year-long campaign to celebrate the 70th year anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between the Philippines and France.
Senator Legarda has been working well with the French Government through the French Embassy in the Philippines and has been bestowed the title of Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre national de la légion d’Honneur (National Order of the French Legion of Honor) by the government of France.
She sponsored the Senate’s concurrence in the ratification of the “Protocol Amending the Agreement between the Philippine Government and the French Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.” It broadens the scope of information that may be exchanged relating to tax administration, including bank information.
Legarda also supported the showcase of ancient Filipino artifacts during the Philippines: Archipelago of Exchanges exhibit at the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris in 2013.
She likewise helped in crafting the 2015 Manila Call to Action for Climate Change, which was signed by President Francois Hollande and Former President Benigno Aquino III, which Legarda read side by side with French actress Marion Cotillard in Malacañang. SENATE / MCAG