April 07, 2016 – President Benigno S. Aquino III’s Statement during the Joint Press Conference w/ His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco during his official visit to the Republic of the Philippines
|President Benigno S. Aquino III’s Statement during the Joint Press Conference w/ His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco during his official visit to the Republic of the Philippines|
|Reception Hall, Malacañan Palace|
|07 April 2016|
|Your Serene Highness Prince Albert II, members of the official delegation, distinguished guests, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen:
The visit of His Serene Highness to the Philippines comes at a meaningful time: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Monaco. In November of 1999, the Prince visited our country in another capacity. This, however, is his first visit as Head of State—which is another milestone in its own right.
Young though our relations may be, the people of Monaco have always been firm friends to our own people. His Serene Highness and other members of the Monegasque Royal Family have always extended a helping hand to underprivileged Filipinos through their charity work. In particular, you stood with Filipinos in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which, at that point in time, was the strongest storm to make landfall in recorded history. You gave to my countrymen so willingly, and I am told that, in proportion to its size, the Principality of Monaco was one of the most generous states in terms of aid extended—and for this, you have the eternal gratitude of our country.
Our solidarity continues with this historic visit. Earlier today, His Serene Highness and I exchanged views on a number of bilateral and global issues. We are one in agreeing on the need to further expand cooperation in areas of mutual concern—with the signing of the Framework Agreement for Cooperation a concrete manifestation of this. The agreement will establish a firm foundation upon which further growth in our relations can be achieved, particularly in the areas of economic, scientific, and humanitarian partnerships, and of course environmental protection.
Many of you may know that His Serene Highness is a strong champion for environmental protection and sustainable development. Despite the relatively small size of our nations, we have been advocates of climate risk mitigation. Both the Philippines and Monaco were actively involved in negotiations in crafting the Paris Agreement. As the Prince and I exchanged views on the outcome of last year’s COP21, I also took the opportunity to relate our progress in our nation’s contribution to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement.
On a lighter note, we understand that His Serene Highness will be visiting the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park—a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for both for its natural beauty and high diversity of marine life. Let me express the hope that you will continue to enjoy and learn from this visit, as you did back in 1999. Furthermore, we likewise hope that, after your visit, you will fully understand why we assert that it’s more fun in the Philippines.
Looking forward, I am confident that our bilateral relations will continue to grow and flourish, in light of our commitment to build upon the friendship, cooperation, and solidarity between our peoples.
Thank you. Good day.