MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Israel’s memorial for victims of the Holocaust marks the end to the chapter in which he compared himself and his drug war to dictator Adolf Hitler and the slaughter of millions of Jews, an analyst said Tuesday.
Duterte on Monday was at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and laid a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance during his 4-day tour of the Jewish state.
His visit came 2 years after he compared himself to Germany's Hitler, wherein he said he would be happy to slaughter 3 million drug dependents like what the Nazi leader did to Jews.
"Unfortunate talaga 'yung sinabi ni President na 'yun and nag-apologize naman siya. Ito na 'yung tuldok dun sa kabanata na 'yun. We are moving forward, Israel and Philippines, with closer relations," said Ranjit Rye, an assistant professor of political science at the University of the Philippines.
Duterte's visit to the memorial not only reaffirms the relationship between the Philippines and Israel, but also affirms that Manila is against genocide, said Rye.
"In some sense, na-repair na 'yung image niya as a person kasi alam naman natin na may nasabi siya because of his passionate style of language. May nasabi siyang kontrobersyal," he said.
Rye believes that the real highlight of Duterte's trip was the agreement for the protection of migrant Filipino workers in Israel, which he estimates is at around 28,000.
"Napakaraming bayani na nandoon, na nagtatrabaho nang matapat. They want to get some assurance na 'yung welfare nila mag-i-improve. I think mag-i-improve 'yun with this new bilateral agreement," he said.
"Napakalaking bagay niyan. Hindi natin puwedeng baliwalain 'yan at diyan pa lang ay medyo quota na si Presidente," he added.
He added, an arms deal may also be signed during the trip, where several military delegates joined.
Duterte arrived in Israel on Sunday and will depart for neighboring Jordan on Wednesday.