By FRED M. LOBO
President Duterte and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed hope that the Philippines and Israel would be blessed with a lasting relationship as they signed three bilateral agreements.
PH-Israel ties strengthened. Pinoy OFWs are now more protected.
Duterte also told Netanyahu that both their countries share the same passion for peace.
Peace be with us, as Jesus Christ has stressed.
Netanyahu welcomed Duterte to Israel, saying this is the first time in 61 years that a sitting Philippine president visited the Holy Land.
Duterte made history in PH-Israel diplomacy.
“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,” Duterte told Netanyahu.
“We share the same passion for peace,” the President added, saying two countries are ready to face “ those who have a corrupt ideology of almost nothing but to kill and destroy.”
Duterte also thanked Netanyahu for graciously hosting some 29,000 Filipinos in Israel and for treating them humanely.
“I have heard that they have been treated as human beings. Unlike in other places….” Duterte said.
Netanyahu cited the Philippines for having received Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
“We remember that the Philippines is the only Asian country that we remember our friendship, and that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” he added.
Netanyahu also lauded Filipino caregivers who are taking care of Israel’s elderly and disabled.
“There has been a remarkable phenomenon in Israel with thousands and thousands of families having taken heart from the support given by Filipino care workers,” he said.
Netanyahu lauded the memorandum of agreement on Filipino caregivers in Israel which was signed during their meeting with President Duterte.
“I, like many, many Israeli families, am deeply moved by this show of humanity. And today we are going to sign an agreement that will knock off as much as 12,000 dollars from the cost of every caregiver,” he said.
Representatives of the Philippines and Israel signed three agreements a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Temporary Employment of Home-Based Filipino Caregivers (signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III), a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Scientific Cooperation ( signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano), and a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) on the Collaboration on Promotion of Bilateral Direct Investment (signed by DTI Sec. Lopez).
Yes to the new agreements which would boost bilateral relations and help Pinoy OFWs.
Meanwhile, President Duterte declared the amnesty given to Sen. Trillanes in 2010 as “void ab initio” since he failed to apply for such amnesty and did not admit guilt for the crimes committed.
“The grant of amnesty to former LTSG Antonio Trillanes IV under Proclamation No. 75 is declared void ab initio because he did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the Amnesty Program,” Proclamation 572 read.
Duterte also pointed out in the proclamation that Trillanes “never expressed his guilt for the crimes that were committed on the Oakwood Mutinty and Peninsula Manila Hotel Siege.”
“Despite former LTSG Trillanes IV’s failure to apply for amnesty and refusal to admit his guilt, his name was nonetheless included among those granted amnesty pursuant to DND (Department of National Defense) Ad Hoc Committee Resolution No. 2 approved by former Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin,” it said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra supported the proclamation, saying Trillanes failed to meet the requirements to qualify for the government’s amnesty program.
But in a privilege speech before the Senate, Trillanes, a leading critic of Duterte, presented proof that the amnesty granted to him was valid and that the charges were already dropped by the courts.
Guevara said the President has authorized the arrest and prosecution of Trillanes for his involvement in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel siege against the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but Trillanes challenged that the amnesty granted by Congress cannot be superseded by an Executive Order.
The Duterte-Trillanes war comes to a contusion, er… conclusion, with the nation closely watching.