Press Release
May 10, 2023

Senate adopts reso congratulating Israel on its 75th anniversary

The Senate today adopted a resolution congratulating Israel on its 75th anniversary which will be celebrated on May 14, 2023.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, who sponsored Senate Resolution No. (SRN) 59, said the relationship between Israel and the Philippines is deeply rooted in faith as well as the countries' common beliefs.

For his part, Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri showed a video clip of the patrol boats the country recently purchased from Israel. He said that half of the fast-craft patrol boats would be built in the Philippines. Zubiri said Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are well-loved and like by the Israeli people.

"They were so friendly to the Filipinos. Maybe because of the fact that we were friendly to them once upon a time in their nation's history," Zubiri said, adding that the Philippines has a visa-free access to Israel.

In 1934, the Philippines opened its door to 1,300 European Jews who sought refuge from persecution. Villanueva said that when the Israelis sought to create the State of Israel in 1947, the Philippines was one of the 33 countries that voted for the UN resolution in favor of Israel and the only Asian country to support the resolution.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros expressed her support for the adoption of the SRN 59 and prayed "to bring people together instead of driving them apart as well as to protect all children instead of teaching them to hate."

Sen. Robin Padilla, a devote Muslim, lauded Israel for its "freedom of religion" policy. He said he was free to visit any mosque when he visited Israel as an ordinary citizen.

Sen. Sonny Angara said the Philippines has a lot to learn from a state like Israel, which is a very innovative state and a world leader in research and development and agricultural technologies.

Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa expressed his support for the resolution, saying that he had a very good working relationship with his Israeli counterparts during his stint at the police force, especially in the aspect of counter-terrorism. He expressed his admiration for the country and its people and hoped the Filipinos could adopt the same patriotic sense of the Israeli people.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano thanked the Israeli people for its unwavering support to the Philippines. He said the two countries had continued a relationship despite the distance between them.

"Since the establishment of the modern State of Israel, the Philippines and the State of Israel are always friends and partners in the spirit of perpetual firm and lasting peace," Villanueva said in his sponsorship speech.

He said the two countries signed a Treaty of Friendship in 1958, after establishing a diplomatic relation on August 9, 1957. Both nations continue to share holistic democratic values, freedom and civil rights as manifested in the 14 major bilateral agreements between them, he added.

Villanueva said Israel continued to support Filipinos at the height of the pandemic. Filipino diplomatic staff, OFWs, Agro-Studies On-the Job Training participants and OFWs with expired working permits or undocumented migrants were administered COVID-19 vaccines at community centers in Israel. The Jewish nation also donated more than US$450,000 worth of medical supplies, testing kits, and educational equipment to the Philippines in 2020.

"Here in the Senate, there is an existing Philippines-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Association, which was formalized when Senate Resolution No. 114 was unanimously adopted by the Senate in the 18th Congress on July 24, 2018. The Resolution conveyed the sense of the Senate to fully promote, support and enhance Philippines-Israel relations," Villanueva said.

"Mr. President, this representation joins the State of Israel in the celebration of its 75th founding anniversary in commemoration of both nations' steadfast and unwavering commitment to its harmonious and peaceful diplomatic relations," he added.

All members of the Senate were made co-authors and co-sponsors of the measure.

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