The State of Israel donated medical equipment to the first responders of the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines to help in their fight against COVID-19.
Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz personally turned over the donation to Secretary of National Defense Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana in a ceremony held on June 2, 2020 at the Villamor Airbase.
“The State of Israel presents its deepest gratitude to the first responders of the Department of National Defense for their service to the Filipino people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ambassador Rafael Harpaz said.
In attendance at the ceremony were Usec. Robert Eric Borje, Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs; Usec. Ricardo Jalad, Administrator, Office of Civil Defense; AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos Jr.; Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes AFP – Commanding General, Philippine Air Force; Maj. Gen. Greg Almerol AFP – Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, J2; Brig. Gen. Oliver Artuz AFP – Chief, Intelligence Service.
The medical equipment donation included 60,000 surgical masks, 6,000 N95 filtered face masks, 9,000 gowns, 3,000 face shields, 100,000 gloves, and 100 non-contact thermometers.
Strong Bilateral Relations
Prior to the turnover ceremony, Ambassador Harpaz and Sec. Lorenzana discussed the warm relations between Israel and the Philippines.
“This donation signifies Israel-PH strong and friendly relations,” Ambassador Harpaz said.
Ambassador Harpaz cited that the bilateral relations between the two countries had been laid down by President Manuel Quezon who opened the doors of the Philippines to Jews fleeing the Nazi regime in the late 1930s, and under the presidency of Manuel Roxas, the Philippines was the only Asian country in the United Nations General Assembly to vote in favor of the creation of the State of Israel on Nov. 29, 1947.
From the Israeli side, they have conducted one of the biggest relief operations in history when Typhoon Yolanda devastated the Philippines in 2013. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers, nurses, and assistant workers helped the Filipinos affected by the typhoon.
Israel continues to be in close cooperation with the Philippines in various fields especially in overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), agriculture, water technologies, sharing of military technologies and counterterrorism strategies, and more.
Significant developments have been achieved in the fields of economy, agriculture, tourism, among others since the historic visit of President Duterte to the State of Israel in September 2018. He was the first Filipino president in office to visit the country.