From the Department of Foreign Affairs
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario is on a three-day Official Visit to the State of Israel, from June 25 to 28, to further expand the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Israel.
This visit is the first by a Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary in twenty years. Secretary del Rosario will meet with his Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to review and propose areas of cooperation.
Bilateral relations are at an all-time high with robust cooperation in defense, trade, tourism, labor, humanitarian, and development cooperation. The two countries also enjoy close institutional linkages and frequent people-to-people linkages. The new Philippines-Israel Air Services Agreement, which was signed in May 2014, is expected to pave the way for further deepening of relations in various fields particularly trade and tourism. Additional areas of cooperation will also be explored during the visit.
Secretary del Rosario will convey the country’s appreciation for the humanitarian assistance extended by Israel to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary will also highlight the Philippines’ contribution in the maintenance of peace and stability in the region through its participation in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights. As of May 2014, there are 347 Filipino peacekeepers serving in UNDOF.
One of the pillars of Philippines-Israel relations is development cooperation through the Philippines-Israel Center for Agricultural Studies (PICAT) and the Granot Agrostudies program. Through these programs, Filipinos learn from Israel’s expertise in agricultural technology and advanced farming techniques. Since 2006, more than a thousand students from 26 Philippine colleges and universities have graduated from the Granot Agrostudies program.
Labor cooperation and the welfare of Filipinos living and working in Israel will also be in the agenda of the official visit. Israel hosts more than 36,000 Filipino workers whose rights and welfare are well protected under Israeli law.