Eight senators will fly to Paris, France to bolster Philippine ties with the French government and the European Union (EU), Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Friday.
This amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s testy relationship with the European bloc after the latter criticized his bloody war on drugs which has reportedly killed thousands of people.
“Nine of us are supposed to see each other there. This trip is intended to strengthen Philippines-France relations and through this hopefully, Philippines-EU relations,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters on Friday, June 23.
The visit will also be an opportunity “to study up close and personal the French system of government, which is unique,” said Pimentel.
Joining Pimentel are Senators Loren Legarda, Panfilo Lacson, Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, JV Ejercito, and Joel Villanueva.
In May, the Palace announced that the government has rejected assistance from EU worth 250 million euros ($278.7 million).
Grants from the EU “that interfere with the internal policies of the Philippines” will no longer be accepted, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in an earlier news briefing.
Abella later clarified that the Philippines will however continue to accept humanitarian aid from the EU.