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Ang dami kasing epal! Hontiveros hits conduct of PH embassy’s rescue mission in Kuwait


Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday lamented that it is the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who now “bear the brunt” of the diplomatic fiasco between the Philippines and the gulf state.

Kuwait recently expelled Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa for the “controversial” rescue of distressed Filipina household helpers.

Kuwait’s irritation was aggravated by the posting of the “rescue mission” in the social media.

“With the expulsion of our ambassador to Kuwait, detention of four embassy staff and looming arrest of three more Filipino diplomats, many of our abused kababayan in Kuwait are now almost beyond the reach of our government,” she said.

The senator said that it is possible that the Kuwaiti government “will indefinitely put on hold the MOU (memorandum of understanding) on the protection of OFWs.”

“What is the Duterte government expecting after willfully undermining the sovereignty of another country? A welcoming embrace?” Hontiveros asked.

“I reiterate, it is correct and just to rescue our distressed OFWs,” the opposition senator said.

She added, “I have nothing but respect for our Foreign Service Officers and embassy staff who put themselves at risk to protect the welfare of Filipinos working abroad.”

However, what is “unacceptable is the way some of these rescue missions were carried out,” she stressed.

“Because several of our public officials decided to make a social media spectacle of some of the rescue efforts, they actually did our OFWs more harm than good and triggered tension between our country and Kuwait,” she said.

Hontiveros said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano “has a lot of explaining to do.”

“First, who ordered the controversial videos of the said missions, showing our embassy people violating diplomatic protocols, to be sent to the media and uploaded on different social media platforms?” she asked.

“Second, was the Foreign Affairs Secretary aware that the videos were made public and of the far-reaching negative effects of these viral videos on our bilateral relations with Kuwait and the safety of the rest of our OFWs?” she stressed.

Hontiveros added, “Third, what is the full extent of our country’s coordination and cooperation with the Kuwaiti authorities regarding the rescue missions?”