Phl to ratify Paris climate pact in July

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has committed to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change in July and seek Senate concurrence before the end of the year.

This was disclosed yesterday by senators and their visiting French counterparts after meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. in the course of their four-day visit starting Jan. 6.

“We met this morning with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs who very much assured us of the willingness of the Philippine government to ratify the agreement by July,” French senator Gerard Miquel told a joint press conference after a closed-door meeting with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III at the Sofitel hotel in Pasay City.

Pimentel was joined by Sens. Franklin Drilon, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

With Miquel, president of the France-Southeast Asia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, were Senators Bernard Saugey, Jean-Claude Lenoir and Simon Sutour.

The visit was part of the activities commemorating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and France.

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The French senators also went to Cebu, and met with Gov. Hilario Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Miquel was part of the delegation of French President Francois Hollande, who visited Yolanda-hit areas in February 2015 with actress Marion Cotillard.

He described the Paris Agreement as a “success that we’ve been working on for a long time… and is going to allow us as a nation to face important challenges in climate change and the protection of the environment.”

The agreement, signed by some 175 countries and entered into force last Nov. 4, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2030.

The Philippines has yet to ratify the pact.

Legarda said Duterte has always been for climate justice despite reports that he was lukewarm to the agreement.

“I’ve been for climate justice because the Philippines is a non-emitter (of greenhouse gases) in the world. It doesn’t mean that if you are for climate justice that you are against an agreement,” Legarda said.

She said the Duterte administration is for the agreement, with 32 of the 33 agencies having already submitted their certificates of concurrence to Malacañang.

“I am certain we will be able to shepherd the concerns and ratification within the year,” Legarda said.

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