President Rodrigo Roa Duterte salutes one of the awardees during the 12th anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) at the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM), Naval Station Felix Apolinario (NSFA) in Panacan, Davao City on August 23, 2018. Also in the photo is Sec. Bong Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President.
Presidential photo/Kiwi Bulaclac
Retiring generals, cops to join Duterte in Israel as reward for service
( - August 27, 2018 - 4:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — Retiring soldiers and policemen will accompany President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to Israel next month as a "reward" for their service. 

Duterte revealed that he is tagging along retiring military and police officials in his trip after he was asked to clarify claims that he is going to Israel for health reasons. 

"I would be going there with some of the retiring military and police officers. Marami kami (Many of us are going). That is my gift to them for serving the country well," the president told reporters on Monday after the National Heroes' Day rites at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. 

"We will practice shooting there at (Mt.) Sinai," he added. 

Duterte then clarified that he would be visiting Israel to look into the conditions of about 28,000 Filipinos in the Jewish state.  

"It’s getting hotter there. And also on the Lebanese front, there is something abrewing there. And in Jordan, we have 48,000 Filipinos. That’s why I am bringing (special envoy for overseas Filipino worker refugees Roy) Cimatu to prepare for that eventuality and just in case war breaks out there," the president said. 

Last Saturday, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano's tweeted that Duterte's visit to Israel is related to the president's health and not about Filipino migrant workers. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has insisted that Duterte is healthy and has dismissed Alejano's claim as a "misinformation in aid of election." The lawmaker has bared plans to seek a Senate seat next year. 

The 73-year-old Duterte has admitted being in "perpetual pain" because of a motorcycle mishap years ago but stressed that he has no serious ailment. 

Duterte said in jest that it would be better if he undergoes surgery in Israel. 

"Eh kung operahan nila ang utak ko doon eh 'di mas maganda. Wala mang problema (If they operate my brain there, it would be better. There will be no more problems)," he said. 

"And then I can have my stomach open, my chest open and my brain," he added. 

When reminded that his statements could create impressions that he is sick, Duterte lashed back at Alejano. 

"Eh 'di ipakuha ko na lang ‘yung ano ko dumi, i-reserba ko sa kanya (I will have my bowels collected and reserve it for him)," Duterte said. 

"Sa awa ng Diyos po kaya ko 'pang umibig (In God's mercy, I can still fall in love)," he added. 

Duterte's aide Christopher Go said Duterte would visit Israel because the Jewish state can help the Philippines in its campaign against terrorism. 

"If they (critics) do not stop, Israel has the capability to examine their brains and see if it has ailments," he told radio station dzRB. — Alexis Romero 

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