Over 20 agreements worth nearly $83 million dollars were signed between the Philippines and Israel during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit this week, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez announced on Wednesday. The Philippine News Agency reported that 14 memorandums of agreement and understanding between the two countries were signed, as well as eight letters of intent from Israeli firms interested in investing in the Philippines.
Companies from the Philippines and Israel have signed agreements to facilitate the marketing and production of Israeli military equipment in the Southeast Asian country. The accords were signed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to Israel, which concluded 6 September. Four defence-related agreements were signed relating to military vehicles, defence electronics, firearms, and ammunition. Two of the agreements involve Philippine land systems company Stone of David Corporation, which signed memoranda of agreements (MOAs) with Israeli firms Gaia Automotive Industries and MCTECH RF Technologies.
Media attention was also focused on what agreements might not have been signed and what that means for the state of defense ties. For instance, reports surfaced in Israel during the visit indicating that a deal to expand police cooperation between Tel Aviv and Manila had been put on hold due to concerns among parts of the Israeli government about Duterte’s drug war. While collaboration could still eventually move ahead, it nonetheless once again highlighted the ongoing challenges both sides face in concretizing some of their planned efforts.