JERUSALEM – More than 20 private agreements and letters of intent worth $82.9 million were signed during President Duterte’s four-day visit in Israel.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the deals and intent letters are expected to generate 790 jobs and reflect the investors’ optimism on the Philippines.

“(The outlook is) very good. They are bullish. They know we’re growing fast, according to some investors we talked to. Some are actually in the Philippines,” Lopez told The STAR in a text message.

The agreements covered investments in agriculture, military hardware, information technology, infrastructure, software systems, tourism and health as well as cooperation in trade, science, shipping and marketing.

Meanwhile, President Duterte has expressed optimism that Israel will help improve the emergency response capabilities of the Philippines, which is vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters.

Duterte added that the Philippines needs more trained personnel and transportation to enhance its disaster response system.

“There’s a lot of terror attacks going on, not only here but all over the world and my country is no exception. We just had about two explosions in one of the provinces in Mindanao and we expect more. I’m sure that your government (would) only be too willing to help us,” Duterte said during a disaster response presentation here Tuesday at the Magen David Adom (MDA) complex.

Duterte was in the complex for a disaster response and rehabilitation demonstration and viewing of equipment.

MDA is the national organization of Israel responsible for emergency, disaster response, pre-hospital care and blood services, an equivalent of a national Red Cross organization.

The President said having advanced technology for disaster response and rehabilitation like that of the MDA would benefit the Philippines.

“You got it right. The rescue was punctual and I would say (precise) – the way you handled it. Of course, it could have been a product of several practices but it shows that you are very efficient,” he told the MDA disaster response teams.

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