Duterte reconsidering Israel, Jordan trips

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he is having second thoughts about pushing through with his visits next month to Israel and Jordan.

Duterte expressed his hesitation in a speech late Tuesday, citing travel costs, just hours after his spokesman officially announced the scheduled trips at a media briefing. 

"It's expensive to be flying around. I'm having my second thoughts about going to Jordan and Israel because of the expense," said Duterte, who is known for his verbal and policy U-turns.

He said taking a commercial flight isn't an option, joking he might get hijacked.

"The last time I went commercial. But they said that if we go commercial in that area, it's not good. You get hijacked, you get hit by a guided missile, and your purpose was just to visit Netanyahu and pray to God," the President said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier told reporters Duterte was slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits Israel in September. From there, he will fly to Jordan.

The President's planned visit to Israel from September 2 to 5 comes two years after his controversial remarks comparing his anti-drug campaign to the Holocaust.

Duterte and Netanyahu are expected to discuss common concerns and ways of expanding cooperation in the areas of labor, tourism, trade, agriculture, counterterrorism, and security and law enforcement.