Philippine and Israeli Officials Hold Bilateral Talks: Agriculture, Labor, and Tourism Cooperation Top the Agenda


Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn M. Quintana (4th from right) and Amb. Mark Sofer (2nd from left), Head of Asia and the Pacific Division, MFA, exchange views on bilateral relations. Others shown in the photo (L-R) are: Amb. Alon Bar, Head of Division for International Organizations, MFA, Labor Attaché Rodolfo Gabasan, Defense Attaché Col. Raul P. Villanueva, Amb. Neal Imperial, Consul General Pamela F. Durian-Bailon, Commissioner Ronal L. Adamat, CHED, and Dr. Max P. Guillermo, President, Tarlac Agricultural University.

19 May 2017 JERUSALEM — The Philippines and Israel reaffirmed their close bilateral ties at the 9th Philippines Israel-Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) on May 04 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Jerusalem.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for Middle East and African Affairs Hjayceelyn M. Quintana led the Philippine delegation while Ambassador Mark Sofer, Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the Israeli delegation.

"The resumption of this meeting, after a two-year hiatus, signals the further strengthening of close ties between our two countries," declared Assistant Secretary Quintana during the talks. "Both sides see the planned visit of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Israel, upon the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a historic milestone that would provide further impetus to the bilateral relations," Quintana added.

During the talks, both the Philippines and Israel agreed to deepen economic, tourism, labor, agriculture, defense, and development cooperation. Assistant Secretary Quintana noted that Israel was the fastest growing tourism market of the Philippines last year, growing by 42%. She also expressed appreciation for Israel's program to bring more than 500 Filipino agricultural students annually to learn about Israel's hi-tech agricultural sector through on-the-job training. Discussions on establishing demonstration farms and agricultural centers of excellence in the Philippines are also currently underway.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Sofer highlighted that is has been 70 years since the Philippines voted in support of United Nations Resolution 181 in 1947, which paved the way for the establishment of the State of Israel. He noted that bilateral relations have become more comprehensive with both sides actively pursuing cooperation in many new areas. END



Members of the Philippine and Israel delegation pose after a discussion on regional developments