By Leslie Ann Aquino
President Rodrigo Duterte’s upcoming visit to Israel next month is “meaningful,” according to the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.
CBCP ECMI Chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos recalled the country’s role in the statehood of Israel when it cast its vote, breaking a tie. “It is very memorable and meaningful since the Philippines, with her historic vote, breaking the tie, decided the statehood of Israel,” he said in a statement.
The Philippines and Israel have good diplomatic relations since the country voted in favor of UN Resolution 181 that partitioned Palestine and created the state of Israel in 1947. the Philippines was one of 33 countries that supported the creation of Israel and was the only Asian country that agreed with the resolution.
“This should make us Filipinos proud,” added Santos.
Duterte will visit Israel from September 2 to 5, 2018 upon the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the official visit will be the first by a Philippine President since diplomatic ties were established between the two countries in 1957. Both countries have good diplomatic relations starting with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship on February 26, 1958, and when they opened embassies in Tel-Aviv and Manila in 1962.
Duterte and Netanyahu are expected to discuss labor and tourism, among others, during the visit.
Duterte is also expected to meet Filipino communities there which is a welcome news to the Balanga, Bataan prelate.
“To meet and to speak our OFWs there is to give them a sense of importance and solidarity and to reiterate to them his gratitude for their services to their family and our country; and his appreciation of their hard work and honesty with their employers. He will also promise them that he would protect their rights and prosecute, and punish those who will victimize them,” said Santos.