PHL Embassy’s Maid Rescue Op Sparks Diplomatic Scandal in Kuwait

Another event has further aggravated the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Kuwait when the Philippine Embassy has been discovered to have been reportedly conducting rescue operations to help Filipino household workers escape their employers without the knowledge and approval of Kuait’s Ministry of Interior.

Last April 21, the Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, Mr. Renato Villa had been summoned for the second time within two days for his fiery statements in an interview with a local newspaper as well as the unbecoming behaviour of his diplomatic staff. This event may hamper the progress of the diplomatic arrangement being finalized by the two governments in light of the work conditions of migrant Filipino workers in the Gulf State.

Image Credit: xiquinhosilva (Flickr)

PHL Embassy in Kuwait Draws Flak from Kuwaiti Officials for “Undiplomatic Activities”

The diplomatic fiasco transpired after videos of the staff from the Philippine Embassy conducting a “rescue operation” to help Filipino maids escape from their employers circulated on social media.

Philippine emissary Renato Villa verified the authenticity of the videos and admitted that his team had been conducting covert operations for over a month already to help Filipino domestic workers escape their abusive sponsors in Kuwait in an interview statement with a local newspaper.

Kuwaiti officials heavily criticized the Philippine Ambassador, even calling out the Foreign Ministry to sack the ambassador as well as other representatives of the Embassy who were part of the rescue operations.

According to Deputy foreign minister Khalid Al-Jarallah, the recent turn of events can be considered as activities that violate diplomatic procedures and international norms that also govern the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.

As per the Foreign Ministry’s instructions, Villa has been requested to turn in those who have been associated with the smuggling of domestic workers or to face the risk of his dismissal. Furthermore, the incident may only prove to be detrimental to the efforts of both countries to reach a new agreement to safeguard the migrant workers’ rights in the Gulf State.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Interior last April 22, the General Department of Criminal Investigation had already arrested two Philippine nationals who have been reportedly involved in the rescue operations sanctioned by the Philippine Embassy.

The ministry had also shared that the two Filipino nationals in custody had already admitted to the charges they are facing and “several other similar activities” in various parts of the State.

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