By Roy Mabasa
In solidarity with the Philippines against the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, the State of Israel, through its embassy in Manila, has donated essential medical equipment to the first responders of the Department of National Defense.
The Israeli donation included 60,000 surgical masks, 6,000 N95 filtered face masks, 9,000 gowns, 3,000 face shields, 100,000 gloves, and 100 non-contact thermometers.
“This donation signifies Israel-PH strong and friendly relations,” Israeli Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said in his remarks during the turnover rites last week.
Harpaz personally turned over the donation to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana along with other top officials of the military and foreign affairs department.
In his remarks, Harpaz recalled the bilateral relations between the two countries dating back when President Manuel Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines to Jews fleeing the Nazi regime in the late 1930s.
Under the presidency of Manuel Roxas, the Philippines was the only Asian country in the United Nations General Assembly to vote in favor of the creation of the State of Israel on November 29, 1947.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda devastation in 2013, Israel conducted one of the biggest relief operations in the Philippines by sending over hundreds of Israeli soldiers, nurses, and other volunteers who helped the Filipinos affected by the typhoon.
He assured that Israel will continue to be in close cooperation with the Philippines in various fields especially in overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), agriculture, water technologies, sharing of military technologies, and counterterrorism strategies, among others.
Further, the Israeli diplomat noted significant developments that have been achieved between the two countries especially in the fields of economy, agriculture, and tourism since the historic visit of President Duterte to Israel in September 2018.
Duterte was the first Filipino president in office to visit the country.