The country is looking at Israel as a partner in boosting its response to terrorism and improving the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Negotiation is ongoing for a “broad-ranging” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation, which shall serve as the primary framework of Israel and the Philippines on military ties, Philippine Ambassador to Israel Macairog Alberto told Israeli social media personality Hananya Naftali in a recent interview.
As of this posting, the two nations are working on the agreement’s draft.
“We consider Israel as one that we are looking at in response to terrorism and also on how we can improve the AFP for its capability not only against terrorism but also on how to have a good external defense capability,” Alberto said.
The Philippine Navy is also expected to acquire eight units of fast attack interdiction craft-missile (FAIC-M) from Israel under a government-to-government procurement scheme.
The acquisition of the FAIC-M is among the 2019 projects approved by President Rodrigo Duterte under the Horizon 2 List of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.
Aside from defense, Alberto said the two nations are also engaging on ways to battle the coronavirus disease 2019.
He extended anew the government’s gratitude to Israel for sending two medical teams early this year to share their best practices on Covid-19 management and effective vaccine rollout.
“We are very grateful for the people of Israel and the Israeli government for sending us help during the times that we are in trouble,” he said.
Alberto noted that Israel had always been ready to lend help even before the pandemic.
“One example of this was in 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan (Super Typhoon Yolanda) affected the central part of the Philippines. An Israeli delegation was also sent there from the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to assist us to treat some people,” he said.