MANILA The government is unfazed by human rights activists who are protesting the upcoming visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to Israel on September 2 to 5, 2018, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.
DFA Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said Israel is a very liberal and outspoken country just like the Philippines and their people were free to voice their opinions.
And you know, the context seems to be quite similar in that sense that people are free to voice their opinion, Abella said in a Palace briefing.
However, this is part of the landscape and it is something that we take in stride, he added.
Meanwhile, Abella pointed out that Israelis deeply appreciate Duterte's tough stance on illegal drugs and criminality.
The Israelis deeply appreciate his stand and his position and his administration, Abella said.
Abella said he is confident that Duterte's visit to Israel will not affect Philippine relations with countries that do not recognize or maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.
At this stage we have, as we said multilateral relations and as we pointed out, we are friends to all and enemies to none. And this should not serve as any obstacle with our ongoing bilateral relationships with each of these nations, Abella said.
We are aware of certain sensitivities but I believe we have a reached a stage of maturity in our relations that they understand each one of our each one of them, he added.
Abella said the President has proven that it is possible to have an independent foreign policy while satisfying the demands and needs of each particular relation.
After his trip to Israel, Duterte will also be visiting Jordan from September 6 to 8 upon the invitation of his Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.
The government is expected to sign at least eight agreements during Duterte's visit to Israel and Jordan including deals on labor, science, trade and investment, among others. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency