Press Release
February 18, 2016

(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.

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