French senators visit PH, discuss climate pact, federalism

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2017 04:45 PM | Updated as of Jan 09 2017 04:46 PM

MANILA – Four French senators met with their Filipino counterparts on Monday, tackling various issues such as the Paris climate change agreement and the Philippines’ shift to federalism.

The French senators were led by Sen. Gerard Miquel, the president of the France-Southeast Asia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group (IPFG). They are in the country for a four-day visit aimed at improving ties between the two countries.

During the meeting at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City, Miquel said Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay assured him of the willingness of the Philippine government to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which is aimed at slashing greenhouse gases and keeping global temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.

"We met this morning with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs who told us about the willingness of the Philippine government to ratify by July," Miquel said in French.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senator Loren Legarda confirmed that MalacaƱang will ratify the agreement which will be passed on to the Senate for concurrence.

"The projected timetable is middle of this year for concurrence," said Pimentel.

President Rodrigo Duterte initially declared that he will not let the historic climate pact be ratified by the Philippines, saying this will impede the Philippines’ industrial growth. He was however persuaded by his Cabinet to ratify the pact.

Pimentel also said the two countries discussed the French system of government.

Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address said he preferred the French model, where the form of government is federal parliamentary.

"That is why we accepted the invitation to visit France, for a first hand look and learn from them," said Pimentel.