Press Release
January 25, 2017

Legarda Hails Stronger PHL-France Diplomatic Ties

Senator Loren Legarda today hailed the deepening ties between the Philippines and France as the two nations commemorate this year the 70th anniversary of the formal establishment of Philippines-France diplomatic relations.

Legarda made the statement during the launch of PhilFrance: Feel French!, a year-long program of activities in celebration of the 70th year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between the two nations.

"I think we would all agree that Philippines-France relations have gone better with time--starting with the establishment of France's consulate in the Philippines in 1824, which was the first in the country; to the formal establishment of diplomatic relations with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship in 1947; and up to this year as we celebrate 70 years of deeper ties. We could only see it getting even better through the years," she said.

Legarda, Founding Member of the Philippines-France Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Association, said that in recent years, the two nations have forged stronger partnership when in 2012, then French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited the Philippines. It was the first visit by a French head of government to the country. It was followed by the visit of President Benigno Aquino III to France in 2014, and in 2015, French President Francois Hollande's state visit to the Philippines.

"These interactions resulted in enhanced partnership between our two nations most especially increased economic cooperation and political consultation, and continued partnership in the areas of climate change and sustainable development, among many others. There have also been many opportunities for cooperation in the field of cultural and heritage preservation," she said.

"We are likewise grateful for the French Government's programs in the Philippines that provide support for start-ups in the country. These initiatives would greatly complement our efforts to support our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which make up 99.6% of the domestic economy," she added.

Legarda, 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), also 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.

"The Philippines has signed and we are in the process of ratifying the Agreement. I 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 said.

"We are grateful for the continued confidence France has in the Philippines and our nation is keen on sustaining growth in all areas of development. As one of France's legionnaire, I reaffirm my commitment to serve as a vanguard of our countries' great alliance," Legarda concluded.

Senator Legarda has been working closely with the French Government through the French Embassy in the Philippines and was 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 is the principal advocate of the environmental film Taklub, directed by Brillante Mendoza and starring Nora Aunor, which earned a special commendation from the Ecumenical Jury at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival in France. It was also shown at the opening night of the 20th French Film Festival in Manila.

Legarda helped craft the 2015 Manila Call to Action for Climate Change, which was signed by Hollande and Aquino, and was read by the Senator side by side with French actress Marion Cotillard in Malacañang.

Legarda was also invited by President Hollande as the Philippines' representative to the Summit of Consciences for the Climate in France in 2015 and she afterwards launched a similar summit on the same year at the Philippine Senate.

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