Palace defends PRRD delegation in Israel trip

MANILAThere was nothing wrong with retiring military and police executives joining the upcoming trip of President Rodrigo Duterte in Israel, MalacaAang said Tuesday.

When asked for comment on Senator Panfilo Lacson's remark questioning the inclusion of military and police officials on the President's trip, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the officials have been included as a part of gesture for appreciation.

Well, including them, of course, as a part of gesture for appreciation is part of the reason why they will be joining the trip, Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

But obviously, for security personnel, a trip to Israel would entail collaborating and mingling with security forces of Israel in order for our men in uniform to benefit from the experience of Israel, particularly in their drive against extremism and terrorism, he added.

He said strengthening security cooperation is one of the matters that will be discussed during Duterte's visit to Israel on Sept. 2-5.

Roque, however, said the military and police officials are expected to have separate meetings with their Israel counterparts and these would have separate official agenda.

Roque said the government will pay for the travel expenses of the military and police officials since they are still active members of the military.

During National Heroes' Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Monday, Duterte said he would bring retiring military and police officers in his historic trip to Israel.

Duterte will become the first Philippine president to travel to Israel since the two countries established ties in 1957.

The Filipino leader is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Rueven Rivlin and discuss cooperation on law enforcement and counterterrorism, as well as in labor, trade, agriculture, labor and tourism.

Duterte is also set to meet the Filipino community in Israel, home to at least 28,000 Filipinos, many of them working as caregivers. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency