Philippines 'apologizes' to Kuwait after rescuing domestic workers

Philippines 'apologizes' to Kuwait after rescuing domestic workers

Philippines 'apologizes' to Kuwait after rescuing domestic workers

An official at Kuwait's foreign ministry told AFP that Philippine ambassador Renato Pedro Ovila had been summoned to be informed of his expulsion.

"Because in their view, it is a violation of Kuwaiti law and we exceeded our rights under worldwide law", Cayetano said.

Kuwait on Wednesday ordered the Philippines ambassador to leave within a week and recalled its own envoy for consultations after embassy staff tried to "rescue" Filipino domestic workers amid reports of abuse.

Cayetano added a formal apology letter was being sent to Kuwait, a day after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met with the Kuwaiti ambassador Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh over the issue.

He said that Mr Cayetano had also apologised to Kuwait "for the actions that were undertaken by the embassy ... to assist Filipino nationals in grave distress here in Kuwait but which the government ... found unacceptable".

The Philippine Embassy, when extending any help to Filipino workers, should always coordinate with the Kuwaiti government, but in the video that went viral, the Embassy conducted the rescue operation without the knowledge of the Kuwaiti authorities. The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that the General Department of Criminal Investigation was able to arrest two people of Philippine nationality, and during investigations, they admitted to the crime and several similar cases in various areas of the country.

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This comes despite the Philippines apologising for what Kuwait called "a breach of their sovereignty".

Domestic helpers account for more than 65 percent of the more than 260,000 Filipinos in Kuwait, according to the Philippines' foreign secretary.

Cayetano explained that since they had a "one country, one team" in every post overseas, it was the ambassador who initially answered the Kuwaiti government when summoned over the issue.

The Philippines government imposed a similar ban on the UAE a year ago after reports emerged of workers being abused.

The ambassador also welcomed the outcome of the meeting, which the foreign minister held with the Kuwaiti Ambassador in Manila, and discussed the measures that must be taken between the two countries to avoid repeating the incident in the future.

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