Philippines eyes more Israeli weapons
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lands in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as part of a regional tour including Jordan, as he pursues a pivot away from his nation's long-time reliance on American military hardware and support.
According to Press TV, the four-day visit to the Occupied Palestine, which began on Sunday, will be the first by a Philippine leader in more than 60 years of diplomatic ties between Tel Aviv and Manila.
Duterte, accompanied by an entourage including soldiers and police, was welcomed at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv by Zionist regime’s Communications Minister Ayoob Kara.
He then headed to al-Quds, where he will hold an event with some of the thousands of Filipino migrant workers in Occupied Palestine.
On Monday, Duterte will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and sign agreements with him. He will also meet with President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday.
Duterte has pivoted the Philippines away from its former colonial master the United States and towards warmer diplomatic and business ties with China and Russia.
The US and Canada have both seen military hardware deals fall apart with the Philippines due to concerns over Duterte's drug war.
But so far deals with Israel have gone smoothly. "(The visit) is for President Duterte to look for an alternative market for... weapons for our armed forces as well as for the police," Henelito Sevilla, an international relations expert at the University of the Philippines, told AFP.
Zionist regime is among the world's top arms dealers, with nearly 60 percent of its military exports going to the Asia-Pacific region.
The Philippines emerged as a significant new customer in 2017, with sales of radar and anti-tank equipment worth $21 million.
Manila says the trip is expected to yield agreements on military affairs as well as labor, which is one of the Philippines' top exports.
Some 10 million Filipinos work abroad and send home money that is a lifeline for the economy. Manila is keen to sign agreements on protections for the workers.