JERUSALEM — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, September 4, met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The two leaders committed to deepening bilateral ties between the Philippines and the State of Israel.
In a brief statement, President Duterte said the Philippines would like to further strengthen its cooperation with Israel, particularly in the area of trade and investments.
“We intend to explore further in the field of investments and trade, and there are a lot of opportunities. Israel can help us on this. And of course, to set up investments…business in my country,” Duterte told Rivlin during their bilateral meeting at the latter’s official residence here.
Duterte assured that the Philippines would be an excellent place to invest in.
“You will not find yourself a stranger there,” he said.
“I do not see any reason that there would be a problem in our relationship. We side on what is morally right. And you can be sure that the Philippines will remain loyal to the tenets of democracy and the right of a nation to exist peacefully,” he added.
The President expressed gratitude to the Israel government for extending assistance during the Marawi siege, particularly in intelligence gathering and military equipment.
“You have extended us critical assistance during the Marawi siege against the extremists. And the equipment that you lent us helped us a lot to win the war and shortened the period of fighting,” he said.
Citing worldwide terrorism, Duterte said, “it behooves Israel and the Philippines to cooperate more than ever to defeat one enemy which I think could never disappear within the next ten years.”
He related that he had ordered his military to buy military equipment only from Israel.
For his part, President Rivlin committed to strengthening the long-standing diplomatic ties of Israel with the Philippines.
“We know that we have a very, very strong relationship now with you and your people. We [are] both trying to protect and to defend our people against fundamentalism, against terrorism,” Rivlin said.
He noted the Philippine government’s assistance to Israel during the Holocaust by providing safe haven to Jewish refugees.
“I must say that all those people who have found safe haven in your place are very much appreciated by us,” he said.
He related that the Israel people are doing everything to rebuild their nation.
“In the last 70 years, we have built a country that can carry the burden of security, that can carry the burden of economy, in developing everything,” he said.
“Actually, we have faced a lot of challenges and we took every challenge to become an opportunity to rebuild or to do something that can really bring us in front of the entire world,” he added.
“We are doing that and we are cooperating with every country that is trying to do the same to protect their own people and to carry the burden of security. And we do that with the idea and the values that we are holding, the values of democracy and the human rights,” he further said.
During the meeting, President Duterte introduced the members of his delegation to President Rivlin including his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Zimmerman Duterte.
Present were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Interior and Local Government Officer-In-Charge Eduardo Año, and Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.### PND