Malacanang on Thursday said President Benigno S. Aquino III will attend the 21st Conference of the Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Nov. 30.
The working visit will enable Aquino to further expand Philippine bilateral ties and cooperation with the Holy See, France, and Italy at the highest level.
In Paris he will deliver a keynote remark during the Climate Vulnerable Forum high-level event at the sideline of the COP21.
The Paris trip will serve as “a capstone opportunity” for the President to highlight the country’s climate change accomplishments and to support the crafting of a new climate change agreement that is effective and equitable and that will help the climate vulnerable communities.
”The following day, the President will also meet various businessmen of companies such as French, Irish, and Japanese to pursue further trade and investments cooperation. He will also have discussions on cooperation on health,” Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Cleofe Natividad said.
In the afternoon of Dec. 1, the President will proceed to Rome where he will have an official meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella. The Italy visit is expected to help sustain the exchanges of high-level visits, the last of which was held in 2006. There is also possibility that the President will meet Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
”The bilateral discussion is also expected to focus on strengthening of bilateral relations, especially in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-Italy diplomatic partnership. It will provide an opportunity for both sides to further improve bilateral trade and investments and the President will as well witness the signing of the air services agreement,” Natividad added.
The other issues and topics that could be discussed would be the Italian government participation in the Mindanao peace process through the Italian assistance to the agrarian reform community development support program as well as the Philippines-Italy debt for development swap program.
The President will witness the signing of the air services agreement between the Philippines and Italy. The agreement will pave the way for direct commercial flights between Manila and Rome.
The President will also meet with the Filipino community in Rome, a home to some 171,000 Filipino workers in Italy.
The last stop of the President’s Europe trip is a reciprocal visit in the Vatican on Dec. 4 where he will have a private audience with Pope Francis.
In the Vatican, the President will also witness the unveiling and the blessing of a mosaic sculpture of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and would have an opportunity also to have a meeting with the Filipino priests and religious at the Vatican.
The President will be joined in his Europe trip by Cabinet members: Secretaries Gregory Domingo of Department of Trade and Industry, Cesar Purisima of Finance, Virgilio de los Reyes of Agrarian Reform, Ramon Paje Jr. of Environment and Natural Resources, Janette Garin of Health, and Undersecretary Linglingay Lacanlale of DFA.