Duterte vows to seek economic, defense cooperation deals in Middle East trip
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday promised to seek economic and defense cooperation deals from Israel and Jordan during his historic visit to the two Middle Eastern countries.
Duterte will visit Israel from September 2 to 5, which will mark the first time a Philippine President will visit the Holy Land since diplomatic ties were established between the two nations in 1957.
He is also scheduled to meet with King Abdullah II during his visit to Jordan from September 5 to 8.
“I shall seek to have a robust relationship that looks forward to broader cooperation on a broad range of mutually important areas, defense and security, law enforcement, economic investments, trade and labor,” Duterte said in his pre-departure speech on Sunday.
“The agenda is promising, as I seek to renew relations with a country and people which have the common aspiration. Certainly, I look forward to discussing ways and advancing cooperation in the key areas of improving defense and security, sustaining growth, addressing transnational crime, intensifying trade and investment, and enhancing labor cooperation,” he added.
The President, accompanied by top government officials, including soldiers and police, left Manila around 2:30 p.m. and is expected to arrive in Israel at past 1 a.m.
The government officials who will join the President’s trip include Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Labor Secretary Silvestre Belo III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, DILG officer-in-charge Eduardo Año, Sen. Richard Gordon, and Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Elson Hermogino.
Duterte also vowed to invite the two countries’ “business leaders to look into our own rich market potential.” /ee
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