PH's top diplomat visits Israel for 36k OFWs
MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in 20 years, the top diplomat of the Philippines is visiting Israel to check the welfare of the 36,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario also aims to boost ties for trade and tourism during his 3-day official visit to Israel.
Del Rosario's trip runs from Wednesday, June 25, to Saturday, June 28, and will involve a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “to review and propose areas of cooperation.”
In a statement, the DFA said the agenda of the visit includes “labor cooperation and the welfare of Filipinos living and working in Israel.”
The DFA said rights and welfare of OFWs in Israel “are well protected under Israeli law,” but observers also said they have been victimized by stereotypes.
Direct flights also hailed
“For many Israelis, the word 'Filipino' has become synonymous with caregiver,” Reuters reported in January, as it said the victory of Filipina caregiver Rose Fostanes in Israel's X-Factor “could help break the stereotype.” (READ: Pinay caregiver Rose Fostanes wins 'X Factor Israel')
Reuters also described foreign workers in Israel as “low paid.”
In any case, ties between the Philippines and Israel remain “at an all-time high with robust cooperation in defense, trade, tourism, labor, and humanitarian and development cooperation,” the DFA said.
The DFA cited the new Philippines-Israel Air Services Agreement, which was signed in May and allowed direct flights between Manila and Tel Aviv. The deal is expected “to pave the way for further deepening of relations in various fields, particularly trade and tourism.”
During his visit, Del Rosario will also thank Israel for helping survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Philippines, and will highlight his country's decision to send peacekeepers to the volatile Golan Heights region.
Del Rosario, too, will explore “additional areas of cooperation,” the DFA added. – Rappler.com