Legarda Receives France’s Prestigious Legion of Honor Award

February 18, 2016

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French President Francois Hollande, thru French Ambassador to the Philippines Thierry Mathou, has bestowed upon Senator Loren Legarda the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor).


The Legion of Honor is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is one of the most prestigious French distinctions. Legarda was given the award for her “truly invaluable contribution in strengthening the bilateral ties between Philippines and France.”


“This award is a profound recognition that kinship and cooperation have no bounds. We are all soldiers of the bigger cause called humanity. The distinguished history of the award, and its long list of illustrious awardees leave me grateful and humbled; but more importantly, tremendously inspired to live up to the noble principles this award represents,” Legarda said during the conferment ceremony held at the residence of Ambassador Mathou in Makati City on February 18.


The Senator expressed her appreciation to the French Government not only for the recognition but also for the many opportunities to work with the French Embassy in Manila, through its immediate past Ambassador Gilles Garachon, and added, “I am confident that Ambassador Thierry Mathou will be a perfect collaborator as well.”


When she was the Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 15th Congress, Legarda shepherded the treaty concurrence process, resulting in the adoption of 16 treaties under her watch. Among these was the Protocol Amending the Agreement between the Philippines and France for the Avoidance of Double Taxation.


“There have also been many opportunities for cooperation in the field of cultural and heritage preservation; but nothing can be more pronounced than our joint initiative on climate action,” said Legarda, who was helpful in the preparations for the visit of President Hollande to the Philippines in 2015.


Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, helped in crafting the Manila Call to Action for Climate Change, which was signed by President Hollande and President Benigno Aquino III and which the Senator read side by side with French actress Marion Cotillard in Malacañang.


Legarda was also invited by President Hollande as the Philippines’ representative to the Summit of Consciences for the Climate last year, which was spearheaded by Hulot as part of their commitment to ensuring the success of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference.


“I believe in our two countries determination to succeed in ensuring climate resilience and the protection of the planet. We are in this together. I personally commit, in my capacity as the recently appointed United Nations’ Global Champion for Resilience, as a lawmaker, an environmentalist and most especially as a mother, to support France as it takes the lead in assuring that the nations deliver what they promised at the Paris Climate Change Conference last December,” she stressed.


“My journey as a ‘legionnaire’ has begun.  I recognize that as in any award, there are responsibilities.  I intend to fulfill these by serving as a vanguard of our countries’ great alliance,” Legarda concluded.

(Press Release from the French Embassy in Manila)

Sen. Legarda honored by France for environmental, cultural advocacies

In recognition of her commitment to the fight against climate change and to the promotion of culture and heritage, Sen. Loren Legarda has been named Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre national de la légion d’Honneur (National Order of the French Legion of Honor) by the government of France.

The ceremony was led by French Ambassador Thierry Mathou at the French Residence in Makati on February 18.

As a legislator, Sen. Legarda has championed climate action and disaster risk reduction initiatives in the Philippines, as well as the promotion of Filipino culture and heritage within the country and abroad.

France values its collaboration with Sen. Legarda, who previously chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, and currently chairs the Senate Committees on Climate Change, Finance, and Cultural Communities, in various cultural and environmental efforts of the French Embassy in the Philippines.

These include her support for the showcase of ancient Filipino artifacts during the Philippines: Archipelago of Exchanges exhibit at the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris in 2013 and Encounters: World Heritage Baroque Churches in the Philippines, a photography exhibit by French artist Ferrante Ferranti, inaugurated at the National Museum in the presence of French President François Hollande during his historic state visit to the Philippines in February 2015.

Sen. Legarda, who was appointed Global Champion for Resilience by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, was also a key advocate for the climate in the road leading to the 21st UN Climate Change Summit hosted by France last December 2015. It was during the ceremonies at the Malacañang Palace grounds during the state visit of President Hollande that the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change was launched, the text of which was read by Sen. Legarda and French actress Marion Cotillard in the presence of the two Heads of State.

The French Légion d’honneur is an order of chivalry established on May 19, 1802 by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte, and is the oldest and highest ranking medal of honor in France. The President of the French Republic, currently Mr. François Hollande, is the Grand Master of the Order and appoints all other members of the order. Its five classes are the following: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

Filipinos who have previously been given this recognition include the late President Corazon Aquino, General Carlos P. Romulo, journalists Teodoro Benigno and Max Soliven, former Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia, former Bank of the Philippine Islands President Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola III, and Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairman Briccio Santos.###