François Hollande & the earth(y) women around him
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2015 - 12:00am

During his historic state visit to the Philippines, the first by a French head of state, President François Hollande came armed with stellar attractions: at least three beautiful, photogenic women were with him, and each was a champion of Mother Earth.

With their beauty and accomplishments, each could have caused many a temperature to soar. But Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard and actress Mélanie Laurent, and French minister for the environment and sustainable development and energy and Hollande’s ex-girlfriend Ségolène Royal, were precisely here to help keep temperatures down — for this generation and future generations.

Cotillard is Oscars’ 2007 Best Actress awardee (for La Vie en Rose) and 2015 nominee (for Two Days, One Night). Laurent, star of Inglourious Basterds, made a  plea to save the planet from climate change at the National Museum. Royal, mother of President Hollande’s four children and now the Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, batted for the protection of the environment at the National Museum. She lost the presidential elections to Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. These three ladies were part of President Hollande’s official delegation to Manila for his state visit.

They got full support from Sen. Loren Legarda, an advocate of environment protection and the call against climate change for decades now. Loren, like Ségolène, Marion and Mélanie, has movie-star looks and the passion of a missionary religious worker. She won’t stop until she has converted the world.

Loren and Marion Cotillard, an environmental activist, read the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change at the ceremony on the Malacañang lawns before the state dinner in the Ceremonial Hall.

“We, the heads of State of the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of France, along with leading individuals from different countries committed to climate action gathered in Manila today, wish to engage the international community, all stakeholders and world opinion, on the urgency of addressing climate change seriously, efficiently and equitably.”

Less than a year ahead of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in December 2015, the outcome of which will affect the lives of billions of people, they called on the international community “to conclude a universal, equitable and ambitious climate deal.”

“From Manila today, we hope to make history together in Paris in December and not simply watch history unfold,” the statement read.

The statement noted that it was fitting that the call was being made in the Philippines, “where people have endured an unprecedented series of extreme weather events in the last few years.” At least 20 typhoons visit the country each year, and the strongest typhoon in modern history, Haiyan, hit Eastern Philippines in November 2013.

“We are reminded that while the developing countries have contributed least to climate change, they are the ones that suffer the most from climate change impacts…However, we believe that our vulnerabilities and exposure to climate-induced hazards can be reduced. In the face of these, the people of the Philippines have shown extraordinary resilience,” the joint statement stressed.

That night, Marion ceased to be just a jaw-dropper on the red carpet, as she was at the most recent Oscars, where she was again nominated for Best Actress. She was delivering one of the most heartfelt performances of her life, for a cause that transcended Hollywood.

Regularly devastated by killer typhoons, the Philippines can be “the face and voice” of developing countries in confronting climate change, French President François Hollande said while in the Philippines last week.

“In the eyes of the world, Manila is a symbol of suffering and hope,” Hollande said on the second day of his state visit.

Last week he saw for himself the progress of rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) first made landfall in November 2013. The area was one of the most devastated. Late last year, the province was again battered by typhoon Ruby.

“Nevertheless there is hope here in Manila,” Hollande said Thursday night during the launch of the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change, expressing admiration for the hopeful and resilient characteristic of Filipinos in the face of tragedies.

“President Hollande was inspired and inspiring,” Loren said, adding, “He thanked me after the state dinner!” (You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com.)

 

 

 

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