Philippines, Israel sign three agreements

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DAVAO CITY (September 4) — The government of the Philippines and the State of Israel have signed three agreements that would strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu witnessed the signing of the agreements:

  • Memorandum Of Agreement on the temporary employment of home-based Filipino caregivers;
  • Memorandum Of Understanding on scientific cooperation, and;
  • Memorandum Of Intent on the collaboration on promotion of bilateral direct investment.

The signing was made before the bilateral meeting between President Duterte and Prime Minister Netanyahu at the latter’s office on Monday.

Duterte thanked the Prime Minister for inviting him to visit the Jewish state.

He also expressed his gratitude for the many times the Israel government helped the Philippines, especially during the months-long siege in Marawi last year.

“Mr. Prime Minister, I can only thank you so much especially the critical help that you have extended my country when we needed it most,” he said.

“The recent trouble in the Philippines…the extent of the help that you extended was very critical in winning the war. It was a help to preserve the Republic of the Philippines and I thank you for that,” he added.

The Chief Executive also took the opportunity to personally thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for hosting almost 28,000 Filipinos in Israel.

“They have been very happy working here, taking care of the aging population of yours…citizens,” he said.

He related that the “jubilation” of the overseas Filipino workers who attended the Filipino community event on Sunday was proof of how satisfied they were with the hospitality of the Israel government and its people.

“The way that they have been received here was shown last night by their jubilation. And of course, every time I mentioned the kindness and benevolence of Israel, you could hear a thunderclap and I am sure that [it] came from the heart,” he said.

The President then expressed hope that the warm ties between the two nations would continue, assuring his relentless support for the Israel government.

“Thank you and may we continue to be blessed with a strong relationship. I do not think that there will ever be a time when there is an irritation even between our two countries,” he said.

“We share the same passion for peace. We share the same passion for human beings. But we also share the same passion of not allowing our country to be destroyed by those who have the corrupt ideology…[those] who know nothing but to kill and destroy,” he added.

“Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend to your country,” he said.

The President also introduced his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Zimmerman Duterte, to the Prime Minister saying that she has Jewish roots because of her mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman.

For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu underscored that the visit of President Duterte in Israel was historic since it was a first by a sitting Filipino leader.

“We mark that this is the first visit by a President of the Philippines in the history of Israel. It is deeply appreciated,” he said.

“We remember the exceptional role of the Philippines that received Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. We remember that the Philippines was the only Asian country that voted for the establishment of the State of Israel in the UN resolution in 1947,” he added.

“Mr. President, we remember our friends. And that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” he

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