Duterte off to “landmark” visits to Israel, Jordan
President Rodrigo Duterte left Sunday for what he considered as "landmark" visits in two Middle Eastern countries, with the intention of ensuring the welfare of the two million Filipinos working in the region.
On the first leg of his official trip until September 5, Duterte will go to Israel where 28,000 Filipinos are working.
He will then proceed to Jordan where there are about 48,000 Filipinos from September 5 to 8.
"(W)ithout mentioning anything, there's a volatile situation there and we have to be sure that our citizens are fully protected," Duterte said in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
"With more than two million Filipinos (working) in that region, I intend to emphasize the great importance that the Philippines attaches to maintaining peace and stability in the region," he added.
In both countries, the President will meet the Filipino communities.
He assured that in his official visits to Israel and Jordan, he will continue to be guided by his mandate to uphold and protect the national interests of the Philippines.
The President said that his "landmark visits" underscore the Philippine vision, which is "a responsible member of the world community - a Philippines that is a friend to all and an enemy to no one."
Among those who are accompanying the President in his trips were Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, 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, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has said that Duterte's visit to Israel and Jordan would be the first by a sitting Philippine president. Celerina Monte/DMS