Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in bilateral meeting on Monday as part of efforts have a broader cooperation between the two countries.
The meeting, held at Natanyahu’s office, was “restricted” and not open to media coverage.
Duterte and Netanyahu also witnessed the signing of three agreements–the Memorandum of Agreement on the Employment of Filipino Caregivers, Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific Cooperation, and Memorandum of Understanding between the Board of Investments and Invest in Israel.
After the meeting, Duterte is expected to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Israel Holocaust memorial center, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, September 4, Duterte will be meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Ernesto Abella earlier acknowledged that Israel is a “very liberal and outspoken country” just like the Philippines and their people were free to voice their opinions.
Abella emphasized that Israelis “deeply appreciate” Duterte’s tough stance on illegal drugs and criminality.
“The Israelis deeply appreciate his stand and his position and his administration,” Abella said.
Duterte, the first Philippine president to visit the Israel, will be in the country from September 2 to 5.
From Israel, Duterte will fly to Jordan for another official visit from September 5 to 8 upon the invitation of His Majesty King Abdullah II. Duterte is also the first Philippine president who will visit the country.