Kuwait summons Filipino ambassador over domestic worker 'rescues'

Kuwait summons Filipino ambassador over domestic worker 'rescues'
2 min read
22 April, 2018
The Philippines' ambassador to Kuwait has denied making 'disrespectful' comments about Kuwait after being handed two protest notes by the country's foreign ministry.
Renato Villa denied saying that the Philippines does not need Kuwait's help [AFP]

Kuwait's foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Philippines' ambassador following the emergence of footage purportedly showing Filipino diplomatic officials helping to transport distressed domestic workers away from Kuwaiti homes.

Ambassador Renato Villa was handed two protest notes by the Kuwaiti government over the matter.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry said that the notes were "related to recent remarks by several Filipino officials which [amounted to] serious offences against the State of Kuwait and [led] to the actions some embassy employees in violation of the diplomatic norms governing relations between the two countries as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations," the Kuwait News Agency reported. 

In a press conference on Saturday, Renato denied reports in Arabic newspapers which claimed that he had said that the Philippines does not need Kuwait's help in supporting ovverseas Filipino workers.

"I would like to underscore that all our efforts to assist our nationals here in Kuwait would not be possible without the support of the Kuwaiti government. I would like to assure that all actions taken by the embassy are all intended to support our collective efforts to find solutions to the problems we have encountered concerning our workers," Villa said.

Kuwait hosts an estimated 252,000 Philippines citizens who depend on remittances to help their families back home. 

Relations between Kuwait and the Philippines took a turn for the worse earlier this year when the body of 29-year-old Filipina worker Joanna Demafelis was discovered in a freezer in Kuwait.

In the wake of the Demafelis murder, Manila has been working to facilitate the return of its nationals who wish to leave, including those who have lost their residency status.