MANILA MalacaAang on Monday rejected reports that President Rodrigo R. Duterte brought with him a 400-member delegation during his visit to Israel, saying only 46 were on the official list.
The total number of official delegates and accompanying delegates consists of 46 passengers total. That's on the official list, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a message to the media.
Roque said there were at least 150 members of a business delegation who joined the trip but paid for their own airfare and accommodations.
I do know there's a substantial business delegation of at least 150 who are all travelling on their own accounts. Not sure where figure of 400 came from, he added.
Traveling with the President are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Also part of the delegation are National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Bong Go, Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Senator Richard Gordon, Interior officer-in-charge Secretary Eduardo AAo, and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Elson Hermogino.
Earlier, Duterte mentioned that he will also be accompanied by some military and police executives as a part of gesture for appreciation and at the same time to mingle with security forces of Israel.
Well, including them, of course, as a part of gesture for appreciation is part of the reason why they will be joining the trip, Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
But obviously, for security personnel, a trip to Israel would entail collaborating and mingling with security forces of Israel in order for our men in uniform to benefit from the experience of Israel, particularly in their drive against extremism and terrorism, he added.
According to Roque, military and police officials are also expected to have separate meetings with their counterparts in Israel and these would have separate official agenda.
Duterte will be in Israel from Sept. 2 to 5, making him the first Filipino leader to travel to Israel upon the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking before the Filipino community in Ramada Hotel, Jerusalem, Duterte turned emotional saying he rarely cries but got teary-eyed because nandito rin ako sa Holy Land (because I'm here also in Holy Land).
From Israel, Duterte will fly to Jordan for an official visit from Sept. 5 to 8 upon the invitation of His Majesty King Abdullah II. He will also be the first Philippine president to visit the said country.
Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) show that there are about 28,000 and 48,000 Filipinos in Israel and Jordan, respectively. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency