MANILADepartment of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday confirmed that the planned visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to Israel will push through within the year.
The official said the DFA and relevant offices are still negotiating the dates and are looking at September or October as tentative dates for the visit.
Recently, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque deferred to the DFA the details of Duterte's upcoming visit to Israel, saying the trip itself can be "controversial".
Asked to comment, Cayetano said the trip would be consistent with the administration's independent foreign policy.
"It's really part of our being friends to all, enemies to none. Our friendship with Israel goes way back so I don't expect any controversy with the trip," he told reporters in an ambush interview.
Cayetano also stressed that Manila is a steadfast supporter of the two-state policy.
"We believe very much on the rights of the Palestinians and we also believe on the right of the State of Israel to exist. Very consistent ang stand ng Philippines diyan (The Philippines' stand on that is very consistent)," he said.
Meanwhile, Cayetano said upon convincing the president to accept US President Donald Trump's invitation, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez received a favorable response.
"We're still hopeful but it's an issue of timing and the long haul issue. But our Ambassador Romualdez was here, he reiterated to the president and he got some positive response so we'll have an announcement soon."
While the chief executive is now considering the trip, the supposed visit may not happen this year, said Cayetano.
Cayetano has yet to receive the list of expected topics to be discussed for the trip but said the focus would be on issues of security and how the two countries as allies should move forward. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency