MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday welcomed the opening of Israel’s honorary consulate in Davao City, which aims to further strengthen ties between Israelis and Filipinos.
Duterte said the “strong” Israeli presence in the city would contribute to Mindanao’s rise.
“It will open new opportunities for investment and employment and people-to-people exchanges,” he said.
Aside from warmer ties between the two countries, Israel’s honorary consulate also wanted to strengthen Israel’s relationship with Davaoeños and residents from Mindanao, Israeli Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said.
Harpaz and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., in the honorary consul’s virtual opening ceremony, both emphasized the long standing-ties between the two countries especially during the time of then-president Manuel Quezon, who opened Manila’s doors to Jewish refugees, and Israel’s assistance to Filipinos such as during the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
The honorary consulate will be headed by Jorge Marquez, a businessman based in Davao City.
“I am sincerely humbled and I look forward to being instrumental in ushering in a strengthened collaboration for the development of Mindanao,” Marquez said.
Locsin described the designation of Marquez as a “most promising development.”
“His years of experience in business and extent of his professional network will be vital in enhancing our links,” Locsin said.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio also welcomed the establishment of the honorary consulate.
Duterte said Davaoeños would have an opportunity to learn more about Israel.
“Israeli nationals in Davao and Mindanao would have easier access to Israeli government support and assistance,” Mayor Duterte said.
— Report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News