Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has apologised to the government of Kuwait for the embassy-led ‘rescue’ of Filipina domestic workers in the Gulf state.
Speaking in Taguig City today (Tuesday, April 24), he said: “I apologise to my counterpart and we apologise to the Kuwait government, the Kuwaiti people and the leaders of Kuwait if they were offended by some actions taken by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.”
Cayetano said the DFA took “responsibility” for what happened after tension over the issue escalated when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs served two diplomatic protests at the embassy.
Cayetano reiterated that the operations undertaken by the embassy were “life or death” situations.
“The DFA takes responsibility, I myself have not only assured the president that we’re doing what we can for the overseas Filipino workers but have apologised na nangyari but like the Kuwaitis, the president understands na life or death,” he said.
Cayetano explained that since they had a “one country, one team” in every post abroad, it was the ambassador who initially answered the Kuwaiti government when summoned over the issue.
Before the press briefing, Cayetano said he met with Kuwaiti Ambassador to Manila Saleh Ahmad Althwaik to update each other on the issue. Cayetano said they had a cordial and “warm” discussion.
President Duterte, together with Cabinet members, had previously met Ambassador Althwaik in Davao.
Cayetano said the Kuwaiti authorities were committed the protection and welfare of Filipinos while the Philippines then assured Kuwait that it would follow their laws.
“Of course we will respect their sovereignty and uphold the dignity of their state by acting within the bounds of law and international law,” he said.
When asked about reports that Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa was being recalled, Cayetano said there was no such request from their counterparts.
“No, there was no explicit request for him to be recalled, there is no threat to have him expelled, they just want all of these clarified,” he said.
On Saturday, Villa emphasised that efforts to assist overseas Filipino workers were not meant to offend the State of Kuwait.