PNoy all set for three-state Euro trip next week
Rosette Adel ( - November 26, 2015 - 3:36am

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday announced that President Benigno Aquino III is scheduled to go on a three-state European trip from November 30 to December 5.

Aquino will visit the cities of Paris in France, Rome in Italy and Vatican City in the Holy See.

The president will visit the French capital to attend the leaders’ event of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and conduct business meetings at the sidelines.

DFA Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Maria Cleofe Natividad said Aquino will also deliver keynote remarks during the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which the Philippines chairs, at COP21.

“It will be a capstone opportunity for the President to highlight its climate change accomplishments and to support the crafting of a new climate change agreement that is effective and equitable and that, most especially, will help the climate vulnerable communities,” Natividad said during the press briefing held at the Malacañang.

For his Paris visit, Natividad said Aquino will meet businessmen from French, Irish, and Japanese companies to close further trade and investment partnerships and tackle health cooperation. He will also witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Bases Conversion Development Authority and the French organization, Vivapolis, for the development of the Green City project in Clark, Pampanga.

On the other hand, Aquino will visit Rome to officially meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Italian president’s residence where he may also get the chance to talk with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renz to strengthen Philippine-Italian bilateral relations as part of the 70th anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic ties.

The Italian leader and Aquino may also discuss Mindanao peace process through Italy’s assistance to the Agrarian Reform Community Development Support Program as well as the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program.

Aquino will also witness the signing of an air services agreement, expected to benefit Filipino workers and investors coming from Italy.

Natividad added that Aquino will conduct the traditional “Meeting with the Filipino Community” as there are 171,000 Filipino workers in Italy.

“This will provide the president an opportunity to touch base with them and also to further promote their interests, as far as the Italian government is concerned,” Natividad said.

Lastly, Aquino is scheduled to go to Vatican City to conduct a reciprocal visit with Pope Francis who went to the country last January. He is said to have a private audience with the Pope.

 “The Pope’s visit, as we are all very much witness to, has greatly contributed to the Filipino spiritual renewal, and the Pope’s visit has provided great comfort and hope to the many grieving Filipinos,” Natividad said.

“So this is an opportunity for the president to thank the Pope, as well as also to discuss with His Holiness the construction and rehabilitation efforts in Tacloban, of which the Pope has shown much keen interest,” the DFA official added.

Natividad said Aquino’s visit will also cover the unveiling and the blessing of a mosaic sculpture of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and will have an opportunity to meet with the Filipino priests and religious at the Vatican.

Aquino is visiting Rome and Vatican City as a head of state for the first time. His French capital trip, however, will be his second as he also visited Paris for an official tour of Europe in September 2014.

He will be joined by the official delegation including Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje and Health Secretary Janette Garin in his European trip.

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