Kuwait orders Philippine ambassador to leave in one week

Philippines 'apologises' to Kuwait after rescuing domestic workers

Mr Duterte alleged that some Arab employers routinely abuse their Filipina workers, force them to work up to 21 hours a day and feed them scraps.

Kuwait has ordered the Philippine ambassador to leave the country within a week and recalled its own envoy to Manila for consultations, according to the official news agency KUNA.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday night expressed optimism that the issue between the Kuwait and the Philippine government will be resolved soon after a meeting with the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Manila.

On Saturday, the Gulf country summoned Philippine ambassador Renato Villa for the second time in two days over his inflammatory comments to a local newspaper and the inappropriate behaviour of diplomatic staff.

Deputy foreign minister Khalid Al-Jarallah told state news agency KUNA that Kuwait was dealing with "acts contrary to diplomatic rules and worldwide norms by the Philippine Embassy".

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"We're sending a note now to my counterpart, and we are apologising for certain incidents that Kuwait view as violation of their sovereignty", Cayetano told an impromptu news conference.

"We respect Kuwaiti sovereignty and laws, but the welfare of Filipino workers is also very important", he said, adding that domestic helpers account for more than 65 percent of the more than 260,000 Filipinos in Kuwait.

Cayetano said embassy workers had been carrying out "rescues" of abused Filipinos, adding that this was mostly done in cooperation with Kuwaiti police but in some cases staff acted alone due to urgency.

"The workers voluntarily went with embassy staff who waited outside the homes of the domestic helpers' employers", said a diplomat.

It said the Philippines dispatched reinforcements to the embassy, comprising seven teams, "on the pretext of rescuing female housemaids in Kuwait".

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The MOA, which will require that OFWs are given adequate food and rest and will not have their passports taken by their employers, may be signed after this year's Ramadan.

Some workers were persuaded to leave their employers, he said.

He said measures had been agreed with Kuwaiti authorities to avoid a repeat of such incidents, footage of which was posted on social media. "It was not a clandestine operation", said Elmer Cato, assistant secretary for public diplomacy.

This diplomatic crisis between the two countries prompted Kuwaiti MPs to demand the expulsion of Manila's envoy.

"The Department will ask Ambassador Saleh to explain first thing tomorrow why the Kuwaiti Government reneged on the agreement reached with him to work together to move bilateral relations between the Philippines and Kuwait forward".

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Lacson heads the Commission on Appointments' foreign affairs committee that screens Philippine foreign service officers, including envoys to be posted overseas.

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