The peace agreement forged by Israel and two Arab countries – Bahrain and United Arab Emirates – bodes well for technology transfer between Israel and the Philippines and for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Retired Lt. General Macairog Sabiniano Alberto expressed these views when grilled Wednesday by the Commission on Appointments foreign service committee chaired by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson.
The committee later recommended the confirmation of his appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the State of Israel with the salary and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class 1.
His appointment was confirmed during the CA plenary session presided by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, concurrent CA chairman.
Alberto expressed hopes that other countries in the Middle East would follow the lead of Bahrain and UAE in forging peace agreements with Israel.
A linguist, Alberto said he has a lot of friends in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and these friends might just give him the right connection with the Israeli leadership.
Alberto headed an intelligence unit of the AFP from 2017 to 2018 and was chief of the Philippine Army (PA) in 2018.
Israel comes second to the Silicon Valley of the United States.
It may just provide arms sales to the Philippines for the AFP modernization program on a government-to- government arrangement, Alberto said.
Israel is said to be on the verge of developing a vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Replying to a query by Senator Grace Poe, Alberto said the Philippines should keep open lines with Israel on agricultural technology transfer as 4,000 Filipino students have gone to Israel for agriculture-related studies.
These students undergo an 11-month training.
Senator Francis ‘’Tol’’ N. Tolentino decried that the Department of Agriculture (DA) could not accommodate those students returning from Israel.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he would bring this up in a Cabinet meeting.
In 2019, a 10-man Israel delegation came to the Philippines and trained its soldiers in counter terrorism. This delegation praised the professionalism of Philippine soldiers, Alberto added.
At present, there are 24,000 Filipino caregivers in Israel and Filipino hotel workers in Arabian states have gone to Israel which gives a higher pay scale.
Senator Imee R. Marcos lamented that because of strict immigration laws, Overseas Filipino Workers are allowed to stay in Israel for five years but not more ‘’and you are not allowed to get pregnant.’’