A group of French ministers is set to visit the country before the end of the year as part of the efforts to strengthen the Philippine-France bilateral ties and forge more cooperation.

In a telephone call last Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron told President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. of the upcoming visit of the French ministers to Manila.

President Marcos replied to Macron that they could start working during the visit of the French ministers on what had been discussed during the 10th Philippine-France Joint Economic Meeting last June.

The chief executive then extended the invitation to the French President to visit the Philippines whenever he made a state visit to Asia.

“We can work on what was just held last June, the 10th Philippine-France Joint Economic Committee Meeting. And many of the businessmen from France were able to speak to our ministers and some of the local businessmen as well,” President Marcos told President Macron. 

“And so if your ministers will come to visit the Philippines then that will be the next step from that beginning,” the chief executive added, as he expressed his gratitude for the long-standing bilateral ties between the Philippines and France. 

In the initial part of their phone conversation, the two leaders  discussed the security issues facing the Philippines in West Philippine Sea.

Marcos said that the Philippine government is exerting all efforts “to maintain the peace, to maintain the stability, keep the shipping lanes open and airways open” in the West Philippine Sea.

“But may I thank France for all the support that you have given us in terms of our shared values, in terms of following the international law, especially UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) and it has been of great help the messages of support and even when you sent French vessels to come and patrol. So I have thank you, Mr. President, and France,” Marcos added.

Marcos said that the Philippines and France had just celebrated the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship, recalling their fruitful meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok last year. 

The President said both the Philippines and France are taking their discussions seriously to ensure a favorable outcome for the two countries. 

“This is all the product of our meetings in Bangkok and I am very happy that … Well, we have been working assiduously trying to make sure that what we discussed we follow up and we come to a good conclusion,” President Marcos said. 

While everything is still under discussion, President Marcos said the Philippines will make close diplomatic contact through French Ambassador to the Philippines Marie Fontanel, who presented her credentials on September 20. | PND

Photo Courtesy by PCO