Philippines apologizes to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Apr 26, 2018, 00:42
Philippines apologizes to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

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Villa on Wednesday confirmed he has been ordered by the Kuwaiti government to leave the country following the controversial rescue of Filipino migrant workers from the homes of their employers.

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

The Philippines government imposed a similar ban on the UAE previous year after reports emerged of workers being abused.

He also expressed belief that the rescue teams would not act their own except in emergency cases and only after a clear showing of inaction on the part of Kuwaiti authorities despite due notice to them of the dire circumstances being faced by the OFW in danger.

In Saturday's operation, the workers were taken to shelter houses ran by the embassy and would soon be repatriated, diplomats in Manila said.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said there are about 250,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait, most as domestic helpers.

The first of two clips, which spread on social media after being released by the Philippine foreign ministry last week, shows a woman running from a home and jumping into a waiting vehicle. "It was not a clandestine operation", said Elmer Cato, assistant secretary for public diplomacy.

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.

News agency KUNA said the Philippine ambassador had been given a week to leave oil-rich Kuwait, adding tension to a spat between the two nations triggered by the discovery of a Filipina's body in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait City.

The expulsion comes after Gulf state's government protested at the Philippine embassy's rescue of abused domestic workers in the country.

"The secretary conveyed our request for Kuwait's kind understanding of the sworn duty of the government to protect Filipino nationals anywhere in the world", Roque said in a statement.

Rights groups say the system leaves millions of workers in the region open to exploitation.

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