WHEN President Benigno Aquino 3rd addresses his fellow world leaders during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, France, he will relate how the Philippines is battered by powerful typhoons that have become fiercer and deadlier to drive home his appeal for a united global action against climate change.
The President flew to Paris on Sunday morning to join other world leaders in pushing for a binding commitment to curb climate change in a gathering held under the auspices of the United Nations.
In his departure speech, Aquino said he will share the country’s experience on extreme weather disturbances to highlight the devastating impact of climate change on vulnerable countries.
“Sa Conference of the Parties o COP21, ibabahagi natin sa ibang mga bansa ang ating karanasan sa pagharap at pagbangon sa matitinding kalamidad [In the Conference of the Parties or COP21, we will share with other countries our experience in facing and recovering from extreme calamities],” according to the President.
“Sa Climate Vulnerable Forum naman po, magsisilbi tayong kinatawan ng mga bansang pangunahing naaapektuhan ng dumadalas at lumalakas na bugso ng kalamidad na dulot ng pagbabago sa klima [At the Climate Vulnerable Forum, we will serve as a representative of countries most vulnerable to the frequent and intense calamities brought by climate change],” he said.
It was during Aquino’s term that the country was hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in 2013, which killed more than 6,000 people in the Visayas and affected more than 16 million others.
The President described the Paris talks as a good opportunity to take further steps and emphasize “unity” in tackling the problem of climate change after failed efforts to agree on a consensus in Denmark in 2009.
“Magandang pagkakataon ang mga pagtitipon sa Paris upang muling humakbang at idiin ang halaga ng pagkakaisa ukol sa climate change [The COP21 in Paris is a good opportunity for us to take a step and highlight the importance of uniting against climate change],” he said.
Aside from participating in the climate talks, Aquino’s visit to Paris will also be a sign of solidarity with other nations in condemning the terrorist attacks in the French capital two weeks ago that killed more than 129 people.
“Sa pagtungo naman natin sa France, ipapaabot natin ang ating pakikidalamhati sa kanilang mamamayan sa karumal-dumal na pangyayari sa kanilang bansa kamakailan [We fly to France to extend our sympathies to their citizens who fell victim to the recent violence],” he said.
“Nakikiisa tayo sa kanila sa pagkondena sa ganitong karahasan na dulot ng pansariling interes ng masasamang elemento [We stand united with them in condemning such violence brought about by the self-interest of evil elements],” Aquino added.
Apart from his agenda on climate change and anti-terrorism, the President said he plans to meet with French companies to encourage them to invest in the country.
“Taas-noo nating ipagmamalaki ang mas maaliwalas nang pagnenegosyo sa ating bansa. Sa paghikayat natin sa kanilang mamuhunan at magpalawak ng negosyo dito sa Pilipinas, mas dumadami ang nalilikhang pagkakataon para sa ating mga kababayan [We can be proud of better business opportunities in our country. As we encourage investors to bring their business to the Philippines, more opportunities for our citizens are created],” he added.
After Paris, Aquino will fly to Rome to meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi where they will sign various agreements.
The President will then proceed to the Vatican City where he is expected to meet with Pope Francis.
While there, Aquino will witness the unveiling and blessing of a mosaic sculpture of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.