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Sen. Loren Legarda receives prestigious French legion of honour award

French President Francois Hollande, thru French Ambassador to the Philippines Thierry Mathou, has bestowed upon Senator Loren Legarda the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor).

The Legion of Honor is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is one of the most prestigious French distinctions. Legarda was given the award for her “truly invaluable contribution in strengthening the bilateral ties between Philippines and France.”

“This award is a profound recognition that kinship and cooperation have no bounds. We are all soldiers of the bigger cause called humanity. The distinguished history of the award, and its long list of illustrious awardees leave me grateful and humbled; but more importantly, tremendously inspired to live up to the noble principles this award represents,” Legarda said during the conferment ceremony held at the residence of Ambassador Mathou in Makati City on February 18.

The Senator expressed her appreciation to the French Government not only for the recognition but also for the many opportunities to work with the French Embassy in Manila, through its immediate past Ambassador Gilles Garachon, and added, “I am confident that Ambassador Thierry Mathou will be a perfect collaborator as well.”

When she was the Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 15th Congress, Legarda shepherded the treaty concurrence process, resulting in the adoption of 16 treaties under her watch. Among these was the Protocol Amending the Agreement between the Philippines and France for the Avoidance of Double Taxation.

“There have also been many opportunities for cooperation in the field of cultural and heritage preservation; but nothing can be more pronounced than our joint initiative on climate action,” said Legarda, who was helpful in the preparations for the visit of President Hollande to the Philippines in 2015.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, helped in crafting the Manila Call to Action for Climate Change, which was signed by President Hollande and President Benigno Aquino III and which the Senator read 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 last year, which was spearheaded by Hulot as part of their commitment to ensuring the success of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference.

“I believe in our two countries determination to succeed in ensuring climate resilience and the protection of the planet. We are in this together. I personally commit, in my capacity as the recently appointed United Nations’ Global Champion for Resilience, as a lawmaker, an environmentalist and most especially as a mother, to support France as it takes the lead in assuring that the nations deliver what they promised at the Paris Climate Change Conference last December,” she stressed.

“My journey as a ‘legionnaire’ has begun. I recognize that as in any award, there are responsibilities. I intend to fulfill these by serving as a vanguard of our countries’ great alliance,” Legarda concluded. – Philippine Senate Office