Philippines, Israel ink environmental protection deal
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Israel have signed an agreement that would boost their efforts in addressing environmental challenges.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Israeli Foreign Minister Eliyahu Cohen inked the memorandum of understanding during their bilateral meeting in Manila on Monday.
“This agreement will provide opportunities for both Israel and the Philippines to share best practices in addressing common challenges related to the environment, preservation of ecosystems, disaster risk management, and promotion and dissemination of environment technologies,” Manalo said in his opening statement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the agreement augments the two nations’ shared efforts to prevent water pollution, protect biodiversity, adapt to climate change, properly manage wastes, and prepare for environmental emergency responses.
The deal also allows both countries to organize learning opportunities, and identify international funding sources for their joint initiatives aimed toward environmental protection.
Aside from boosting environment-related matters, Manalo said the Philippines and Israel will likewise be exploring more opportunities to cooperate across the fields of science and technology, trade and investment, energy, and counterterrorism, among others.
“Our dialogue allows us to discuss the whole range of bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Israel. Set the direction of our partnership and find ways to deepen and strengthen our relations,” Manalo said.
Cohen, meanwhile, took note of Israel’s “important and strategic” relations with the Philippines.
He also noted that the Philippine-Israel ties can “do so much more.”
Among the other areas of cooperation he hopes for Israel and the Philippines to further work on are cybersecurity, tourism, and business.
Cohen, along with an Israeli business delegation, arrived in Manila on Sunday for a two-day official visit.
After his bilateral meeting with Manalo, Cohen is expected to pay a courtesy call on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
According to the Israeli Embassy in Manila, the visit of their top diplomat is a reassurance that Israel remains “a friend and ally of the Philippines.”
“We see the relations flourishing further in the years to come,” Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss said in a statement.
Cohen’s visit, he noted, sends a “strong political and economic message” as Israel aims to reciprocate the historic trip of then-President Rodrigo Duterte to the Middle Eastern country in September 2018.
Duterte was the first Philippine leader to visit Israel since the Philippines and Israel established relations in 1957.
Fluss said Duterte’s official visit had laid the groundwork for Israel to set up defense and economic attachés in Manila, open opportunities for overseas Filipino workers, and expand defense ties with the Southeast Asian nation.