The Star, Malaysia
MANILA, Philippines (AP) - The Philippine ambassador to Tel Aviv who angered Israelis by comparing local immigration officials to the Nazi secret police will return home for "regular consultations,'' the Philippine foreign affairs department said Tuesday. Spokesman Albert Asuque said Ambassador Antonio Modena will return to Manila for "regular home office consultations,'' which will include the status of Filipino workers in Israel.
He stressed that Modena wasn't being recalled and would return to his post in Israel, adding his trip was approved before the controversy over his remarks. Modena on Monday apologized to Israeli Foreign Ministry officials for a newspaper interview last week in which he compared Israeli police tactics during arrest sweeps of illegal workers - including Filipinos - to those of the Gestapo. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it accepted the apology and considered the matter closed.
"He is coming to Manila for regular home office consultations,'' Asuque said. Meanwhile, a pressure group for Filipino overseas workers, Migrante, called for the Israeli government to apologize for the treatment of Filipino workers.
"From segregating Filipino travelers at the back of aircraft on flights to Tel Aviv, the confiscation of cell phones and night raids of overseas Filipino workers' homes, the Israeli government ... should be the one to issue an apology, not Ambassador Modena,'' Migrante chairman Connie Bragas-Regalado said.