MANILA — Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Effie Ben Matityau on Wednesday underscored the ongoing partnership between the Philippines and Israel, particularly on its cooperation in the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
“Talking about the Philippines and Israel, President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned China, Israel, and the United States among those who supported the Philippines in Marawi City,” he said.
Aimed at embedding the importance on the discussion of cybersecurity in the Philippines after Marawi’s liberation from Islamic State-inspired terrorists, Matityau said Manila could follow Jerusalem’s steps who identifies cyber dangers as a “macro-level issue.”
Marking the opening of Cyber Defense Forum in Makati City organized by the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP), Matityau expressed optimism that cybersecurity would top as one of the areas to bring Manila and Jerusalem “together”.
In an interview Tuesday night, Matityau told the Philippine News Agency that Israel is eyeing food security cooperation with the government as it starts reconstruction of Marawi.
“We are working in the food security area and also, in the Marawi area, with State University of Mindanao,” he said. “We are working with programs that are meant to develop the agriculture skills of agriculture students for state universities.”
He said the achievement of the government in flushing out terrorists in the city is an “incredible turning point.”
“(It sends) a message of unity to the Philippines and a very good message also to those who are trying to undermine the Philippines and these are the same forces that we see in the Middle East.”
Currently, Matityau said the Philippine-Israel bilateral relationship is experiencing its “honeymoon” phase.
“We have so many areas of cooperations, and I would say that we just look for more of the same in the right direction.”
As per ICCP President Itamar Gero, business prospect between the Philippines and Israel is favorable, particularly on the aspects of tourism, agriculture, and cybersecurity.
At the United Nations Day celebration in Taguig City Tuesday, Matityau noted that Israel holds importance on forging deeper ties with the Philippines, as it played a key role in the creation of the state of Israel in 1947.
“The Philippines is the only country in Asia that voted for that resolution, we were actually the threshold that after you vote, we guaranteed the vote as becoming a new nation-state at the United Nations, very interesting times,” he said.