Duterte, Israeli PM Netanyahu meet; witness signing of deals
JERUSALEM – President Rodrigo Duterte and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Monday for a bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office here.
Netanyahu extended a warm welcome to Mr. Duterte at the start of the Philippine President’s official visit.
“We remember our friends and that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” Netanyahu told Duterte.
Duterte said “Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend.”
The two leaders witnessed the signing of three agreements: Memorandum of Agreement on the Temporary Employment of Home-Based Filipino Caregivers, Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific Cooperation, and Memorandum of Intent on the Collaboration on Promotion of Bilateral Direct Investment.
“We share the same passion for peace, we share the same passion for human beings. But we also share the same passion of not allowing our country to be destroyed by those who have a corrupt ideology of almost nothing but to kill and destroy,” Duterte told Netanyahu.
Duterte has been accused of condoning human rights abuses in his deadly drug crackdown and has made controversial comments about the Holocaust. He drew outrage in 2016 when he compared his anti-drug campaign to the Nazi genocide of Jews in World War II and said he would be “happy to slaughter” 3 million addicts. He later apologized.
Duterte has denied condoning extrajudicial killings but has openly threatened drug dealers with death.
Netanyahu hailed the service of Filipino caregivers given to Israeli families.
“I am one of those families. My great father received incredible care by [Filipino] caregivers.
He described his father’s caregiver as “a woman of exceptional compassion and intelligence and took care of my father’s every need.”
And when he passed away, she took care of his brother until he passed away,” he added.
Netanyahu said he was “deeply moved” by the care of Filipino workers.
The Philippine Embassy here said Israel is home to 29,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including 24,000 Filipino caregivers.
Nathaniel Imperial, Philippine Ambassador to Israel, said the bilateral labor agreement for caregivers would “ensure that the exploitative placement fees that are being charged to our workers would be substantially reduced, if not, eliminated.”
“It will be a government to government agreement. So private recruitment agencies will no longer be involved in the recruitment process,” Imperial noted.
Netanyahu gave details of the agreement.
“And today, we’re gonna sign an agreement that would knock off as much as 12,000 dollars in the cost of every caregivers. This is good money that is taken away from the caregivers and the families, the Israeli families they so long deserve. This is an exceptional agreement,” Netanyahu told Duterte. AP /kga
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