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Ayusin ang sablay ni Cayetano! Duterte reveals what his adviser should tell Kuwaitis

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President Rodrigo Duterte only has one order for Abdullah Mama-o, his adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns, when he was appointed special envoy to Kuwait: Tell his Arab counterparts “salaam.”

In a speech before surrenderees of the ISIS-affiliated Maute Group Friday (May 11), Duterte said he chose Mamao to iron out the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait because of his Muslim background.

“Sabi ko, ‘brod, punta ka doon sa Kuwait. Kausapin mo ang liderato at sabihin mo sa kanila na ang aking hinihingi,’ sabi ko, ‘one message, salaam.’ ‘Yan lang sabaihin mo. O so ngayon naayos na,” he said.

“Salaam” is a gesture of respect in various Arabic-speaking and Muslim countries.

Duterte said he told Mama-o not to meddle in talks regarding the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the welfare of OFWs because it will be handled by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Relations between Kuwait and the Philippines were strained over the Department of Foreign Affairs’ release of a video showing the rescue of distressed OFWs in the Gulf state.

The rescue, which Kuwaiti authorities said violated their sovereignty, was authorized by an appointee of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola.

The video was supposedly uploaded on social media to portray Cayetano as a champion of OFWs for his rumored 2022 presidential bid.

As a result of the talks led by Mamao in Kuwait, officials of the Gulf state have agreed to release the four drivers involved in the rescue without charges, as well as the three Filipino diplomats linked to it.

The signing of the MOU between the Philippines and Kuwait also pushed through.