Fence mending proposed as diplomatic spat heats up between the Philippines and Kuwait

Effort is underway in the Philippines to mend fence with Kuwait following an ongoing diplomatic spat which saw the Philippine ambassador to the Gulf state being expelled, according The Manila Times Online on Saturday (April 28).

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd proposed high-level visits of Philippine officials to Kuwait to mend fence and show that the Philippines has “put importance to bilateral relationship with Kuwait.”

Senator Francis Pangilinan suggested that the government fires “whoever behind the rescue attempt and all those who gave bad advice to the president.”  He added that Philippine officials must have direct talks with Kuwait’s head of government to diffuse the tension and address the deteriorating situation.

Philippine embassy officials helped rescue a Filipina maid apparently in violation of diplomatic protocol and a video of the rescue operation later went viral in the social media.  Kuwait has protested against the embassy officials’ action and later expelled the ambassador to Kuwait, Renato Villa, despite an apology from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

Kuwaiti officials have also arrested some embassy officials who helped in the rescue mission.

A party-list legislator representing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Anisto ‘John’ Bertiz 3rd has urged the government to kick out Kuwaiti ambassador to the Philippines as a retaliation against the expulsion of the Philippine ambassador to Kuwait.

He accused the Kuwaiti envoy of conveying false assurance when he met with President Rodrigo Duterte and other cabinet ministers Monday (April 23) in Davao City to discuss the Kuwaiti protest over the rescue mission.

However, Senator Cynthia Villar came to the defense of embassy officials, saying they have the duty to ensure the safety of Filipino workers.