By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado is proposing to declare February 26 a national special working holiday to commemorate the Treaty of Friendship signed between the Philippines and Israel six decades ago and further strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.
He noted that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the treaty signed between the two nations and also marks Israel’s 70th anniversary as a State.
“On February 26, 2018, the Philippines and Israel celebrated their friendship in a day of jubilation at the historical Luneta Park in the Philippines. To formally and officially mark this significant occasion, there is a need to declare February 26 a national holiday to commemorate the Treaty of Friendship signed by the two countries,” Aumentado said.
“More significantly, it is also an opportunity to commemorate President Manuel L. Quezon’s open-door policy, which should be considered as one of the Philippines’ greater moral victory as a country and a showing of the strength of Filipinos’ moral courage,” he said.
The Israeli government built an Open Doors Monument in Lezion Memorial Park just off Tel Aviv in 2009 to thank late President Manuel L. Quezon and the Filipino people for the open-door policy which gave Israeli refugees not only new homes, but also the opportunity to lead new lives, Aumentado cited.
“The Israelis have not forgotten our acts of gallantry and kindness. It is only right that we do not too. This is a fragment of history where humanity prevailed, and the Filipinos were at the center of it. Memories of the past must always be remembered, for it will guide us in the present to be a better nation, and to be better people,” he said.
Aumentado filed House Bill 8098 declaring February 26 as Philippine Israeli Friendship Day and a national special working holiday to commemorate the Treaty of Friendship signed between the Philippines and Israel.
HB 8098 mandates the National Historical Institute (NHI) to formulate and the issue the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.