President Benigno Aquino 3rd will have a private audience with Pope Francis when he flies to Vatican City next week, a Foreign official said.
The President will have three official visits—in Paris, Rome, and the Vatican City.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Cleofe Natividad said Aquino will go to Vatican on December 4 to reciprocate the Pope’s visit to Manila in January this year.
“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,” Natividad said.
Aquino will also witness the unveiling and the blessing of a mosaic sculpture of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and will meet with Filipino priests and religious at the Vatican.
In Paris, the President will attend the leaders’ event of the 21st Conference of the Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will take place on November 30.
The event, she said, will be a “capstone opportunity” for the President to highlight his administration’s climate change accomplishments.
Aquino will also personally extend his “support [in]the crafting of a new climate change agreement that is effective and equitable and that most especially will help the climate vulnerable communities,” she added.
Natividad said President Aquino is “more determined” to attend the climate change forum despite the recent terror attacks in Paris.
Aquino will also travel to Rome where he will have an official meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and possibly with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
“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 said.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE