President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Israeli Foreign Minister Eliyahu Cohen have agreed to establish direct flights between Manila and Tel Aviv.

During a meeting in Malacañang on Monday, Cohen told the President that direct flights between the Philippines and Israel could enhance the countries' economic and tourism relations.

"There’s another thing that we, both of us, took for an action item - (it) is to have a direct flight… your external sea between Israel and the Philippines," Cohen said.

"And I think that we agree that both ministries will work together to have the direct flight and this is also to bring more business people to come to invest and reach the place between us. So this is also another important action item that we will do," he added.

Cohen told Marcos that Israel could work with the Philippines when it comes to agriculture and food security.

"I think that we can work together on the segment of agriculture. I just let you know that our land, 60% of our land is desert. But although 60% of our land is desert, we were able to provide all our water needs," Cohen said, saying that the two countries should open an agricultural hub to push the initiative.

"And I think that we can work together and let’s say that less import, more export for the Philippines. And I think that we can work together," Cohen added.

Cohen also said the two countries could collaborate on water management, noting Israel’s vast experience in this sector. He mentioned that an Israeli expert could visit the Philippines over this matter.

For his part, Marcos said he has considered agricultural development as very important for the Philippines, adding that he admires Israel’s advancement in agriculture.

Marcos said he was grateful that Cohen had raised the issue because agriculture has been the Philippines' priority, especially when it comes to economic development.

"Because when we look at the economy as hard to just test, we said how do we fix the economy. It always comes down to agriculture first, how to fix every policy, then everything else would be great. So that's the position that we find ourselves in," Marcos said.

"So, the offers that you make for assistance and partnership in those two areas are very, very welcome," he added.

Cohen also met with Filipino counterpart Secretary Enrique Manalo where they discussed measures to improve ties between the two countries. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News

This article Philippines, Israel to have direct flights to boost tourism was originally published in GMA News Online.

2023-06-06T02:04:15Z dg43tfdfdgfd