16 July 2013 - Dressed in the traditional Filipiniana attire, Philippine Ambassador to Israel Generoso D.G. Calonge and the officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv welcomed members of the diplomatic corps, high-ranking Israeli government officials, Filipino peacekeepers, businessmen, members of the clergy, leaders of the Filipino community and other friends at a reception to celebrate the 115th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence on June 12.
Around 200 guests attended the reception which was highlighted by a short programme. Foreign Ministry Director General Rafael Barak was this year's guest of honor.
In his remarks, Director General Barak noted the vibrant and strong relations between the Philippines and Israel. He emphasized that Israel will never forget President Quezon's magnanimous act to save the Jews escaping the Holocaust and reiterated its appreciation for the Philippines' role in the creation of the State of Israel. He also noted the important role of Filipino caregivers working and living in Israel who provide the elderly with much needed care. Director General Barak also expressed Israel's interest in pursuing the renegotiation of Philippines-Israel Air Services Agreement which would pave the way for establishing direct flights between Manila and Tel Aviv. Lastly, he underscored the important and crucial role of the Filipino peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) deployed in the Golan Heights.
In his speech, Ambassador Calonge highlighted the economic developments and achievements that the Philippines attained despite the harsh global economic turmoil. He proudly announced that the Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and the world. He said that credit rating has been elevated to investment grade and as a consequence, foreign investments are pouring in and the Philippines has become a creditor nation. He encouraged the State of Israel to continue being a strong partner of the Philippines in pursuing economic and development objectives in the years to come.
After the remarks of Ambassador Calonge and Director General Barak invited the guests to raise their glasses and offer a toast to the long-lasting partnership and continued cooperation between their two countries. END