Published: Thursday 26 April, 2018

After Expulsion of PH Ambassador, 3 Pinoy Diplomats Arrested in Kuwait

It looks like the relations of the Philippines and Kuwait is going downhill. On Wednesday, Kuwait expelled Philippine ambassador Renato Villa and detained four embassy employees. On Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said warrants of arrest have been issued against 3 other Filipino diplomats. What’s next?

The DFA said it served a diplomatic note to the Embassy of Kuwait in Manila concerning these recent developments. And it comes as the two countries were reportedly close to ironing out the bilateral agreement for the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OWF) in Kuwait. It also comes as President Rodrigo R. Duterte (PRRD) is said to be preparing to visit Kuwait.

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“The Department served a diplomatic note to the Embassy of Kuwait conveying its strong surprise and great displeasure over the declaration of Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa as persona non grata; the continued detention of four Filipinos hired by the Philippine Embassy; and the issuance of arrest warrants against three diplomatic personnel,” the DFA said in a statement Thursday.

These developments came in the wake of a video showing a ‘Rapid Rescue Team’ rescuing distressed OFWs from their allegedly abusive employers. The video immediately went viral in the Philippines and Filipino communities abroad. But while Pinoys hailed the rescue, Kuwaiti officials tagged it as assisted escapes which, they say, is illegal in their country.

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DFA secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has already issued an apology explaining that the rescues were done “in the spirit of emergency action to protect Filipinos.” He added that Kuwait has accepted the apology as the Philippines vowed “respect for the sovereignty of the State of Kuwait and the dignity of the Kuwaiti people.” 

Cayetano said later that the Kuwaiti ambassador in Manila accepted his explanation so it is puzzling, and disturbing, that recent developments show otherwise.

Amid all these, there is now growing concern that OFWs in Kuwait may be in ‘deeper trouble’.