Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte thanked Israel on Monday for providing “critical help” to his country when “we needed it most,” an apparent reference to unspecified assistance Jerusalem provided Manila in fighting Islamic radicals.
Duterte, who did not go into detail, said this “very substantial and critical” assistance was “an important help to preserve the republic.”
The president said that Israel and the Phillipines “share the same passion for peace, we share the same passion for human beings and we share the same passion of not allowing ouR countries to be destroyed by those with corrupt ideologies.”
Diplomatic officials said this was an apparent reference to the European Union, which has been very critical of his war on drugs, which critics say has led to the execution of thousands of people.
“In this sense, Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend,” he said
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Duterte, who arrived Sunday evening
as the first ever sitting Philippines president to visit the country, by remembering that the country opened its doors to refugees from Germany and Austria during the Holocaust, that it was the only Asian country to vote for the Partition Plan in 1948, and that tens of thousands of Filipinos are giving care to elderly Israelis across the country.
Netanyahu interjected a personal note, saying that his late father, who lived to 102, “received incredible care by a caregiver from the Philippines, a woman of exceptional compassion and intelligence.”
One of the agreements signed during the meeting was one that will put more money into the caregivers pockets by cutting out fees to intermediaries bringing the caregivers to the country.
Duterte, who met Sunday evening with hundreds of Filipinos working in the country, said they “are very happy working here, taking care of the aging population.”
He said that he was told they are treated in Israel “like human beings,” unlike other countries, which he did not specify.
Duterte also interjected a personal note into the visit, introducing a daughter accompanying him of his first wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, whose descendants were among those Jews fleeing Nazi Germany who found refuge in the country.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>