Israeli foreign minister on two-day Philippine visit to expand business ties

Israeli foreign minister on two-day Philippine visit to expand business ties
Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss welcomes Israeli Foreign Minister Eliyahu Cohen upon the latter's arrival in Manila on June 5, 2023.
Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, handout

MANILA, Philippines — Israeli Foreign Minister Eliyahu Cohen is in Manila for a two-day visit to expand economic cooperation and to improve relations with the Philippines in the fields of agriculture, water, innovation and technology.

Cohen, along with an Israeli business delegation, arrived late Sunday evening. While in the Philippines, he will pay a courtesy call on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and hold bilateral meetings with counterpart Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo. 

He will also meet with National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Arsenio Molino Balisacan to discuss opportunities in trade, among others. 

“The visit of Israel’s Foreign Minister to the Philippines reassures that Israel is a friend and an ally of the Philippines, and we see the relations flourishing further in the years to come,” Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss said in a statement late Sunday.

The Israeli embassy said Cohen’s visit is a “strong political and economic message,” which is a follow-up of the visit of then-President Rodrigo Duterte to Israel in 2018. 

Duterte’s official trip opened up opportunities for Israel to set up its defense and economic attaché offices in the Philippines, while also setting up opportunities for overseas Filipino workers and expanding defense ties.

The two countries are celebrating 65 years of bilateral relations this year. 

The Philippine Navy recently received two new missile capable Shaldag Mark V gunboats commissioned from Israel Shipyards Ltd. The Israeli embassy also hosted an anti-drone seminar to help Philippine security and defense agencies be familiar with new security technologies, particularly ones that are developed by Israeli manufacturers.

RELATED: Enhancing defense relations, Israel shares anti-drone expertise with PHL

Aside from military relations, Israel has also extended its expertise in modernizing farming, among other efforts to improve the agriculture sector in the Philippines. 

RELATED: Israel, Dutch expertise tapped for water resource department | MPIC, Israeli partner to build Philippines' biggest vegetable greenhouse facility  

— Kaycee Valmonte

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