PH envoy echoes Cayetano’s apology to Kuwait

MANILA Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa on Tuesday afternoon (Kuwait time) echoed the apology extended by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to the Kuwaiti government after tensions arose due to assistance to nationals operations the embassy staged in the Gulf state.

On Tuesday, Cayetano issued an apology for the actions by the embassy in the past weeks to assist Filipino nationals in grave distress in Kuwait, to which latter found unacceptable.

"I join our Secretary of Foreign Affairs in extending this apology," said Villa in a press conference at the embassy.

He noted that the embassy never intended "to offend the sensitivities of the Kuwaiti government and the Kuwaiti people."

"It was also never the intention of the embassy to violate the sovereignty and the internal processes of the State of Kuwait in the few occasions that we were compelled to respond in the urgent calls for assistance from our people," he added.

During his remarks, Villa appealed for the Gulf state's "kind understanding" on the Philippine government's sworn duty under the leadership of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to respond to calls for assistance from Filipinos in distress abroad.

On Monday, President Duterte met with Kuwaiti Ambassador to Manila Saleh Ahmad Althwaik to assure latter that the country respects the sovereignty of Kuwait. On the following day, Althwaik and Cayetano met in Taguig City and agreed on measures to avoid future misunderstandings in the future.

Of the earlier reported numbers of FIlipinos who requested assistance, Cayetano said more than 100 are still awaiting for urgent actions.

The Kuwaiti ambassador, during the meeting with Cayetano on the other hand, assured they will immediately act on these pending requests.

For his part, Villa said he looks forward to continue working with the Kuwaiti government in addressing matters of mutual concern and in further strengthening "the ties that bind" the two nations and its people.

Villa welcomed that the Kuwaiti government committed to the establishment of a 24/7 hotline to immediately respond on Filipino's assistance requests.

The Kuwaiti government also vowed to formulate mechanisms to ensure efficient coordination between the Philippine Embassy and Kuwait authorities in responding to any emergency cases involving Filipinos.

Source: Philippine News Agency