Senator Loren Legarda named Knight in the French Legion of Honor [fr]
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 Order) 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 has served as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources, the Senate Committee on Climate Change and the Senate Committee on Culture, 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.
“You believe in the need to put human, green development, culture and, what we call in French art de vivre, in the center of everything. These are the values that France wants to promote. These are the values that are highlighted in COP21, because in the end, COP21 is not just an issue of how many degrees. It’s an issue of civilization,” French Ambassador Mathou said during the conferment ceremony.
“Because you share our values, because you are an inspiration, because you are always in action, it is a privilege of France to bestow on you the title of knight in the French Legion of Honor,” the French envoy concluded.
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.