Sotto hits ‘inappropriate’ treatment of PH embassy officials in Kuwait

MANILA Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Thursday hit back at the Kuwaiti government for its treatment of Philippine embassy officials and staff involved in the rescue mission of distressed Filipino housemaids in the Gulf state.

Your question is whether it's right for them to treat our embassy officials that way? I don't think so, Sotto told reporters during the regular Kapihan sa Senado forum at the Senate as he answered questions if the expulsion and arrest of embassy officials in Kuwait is fair and appropriate.

I was trying to be diplomatic pero bottom line, kung ayaw nila sa atin, ayaw din naman natin sa kanila eh, mas lalo namang ayaw natin (I was trying to be diplomatic but the bottom line, if they don't like us, we also don't like them), he added.

While the Philippine government tries to understand where the Kuwaiti government is coming from, given that it has to impose its own rules and laws, Sotto said the Arab state should also understand that the Philippine embassy led by Ambassador Renato Villa was also left with no choice but to help distressed Filipinos.

Time is of the essence under these circumstances so we will just have to trust the Department of Foreign Affairs to be able to thresh out everything, Sotto said.

Even as DFA officials are bound to follow protocols of the host country, he said that Kuwait should also assure that they will go after abusive employers.

We also need the assurance, not just assurance, but also actions to prove that they will go after these people who have hurt our countrymen, Sotto said.

In the meantime, Sotto said that the DFA should also go after the individuals responsible for the video posted on social media that started the diplomatic tussle.

The viral video showed embassy staff members enticing Filipino housemaids to run away from their employers, prompting Kuwait to lodge a diplomatic protest and to consequently order Villa to leave the country within a week.

DFA officials should censure those who did that. May mga bagay na hindi naman dapat kasing inilahad sa social media ng basta-basta e (There are such things that should not be posted on social media). We should be more careful next time. We should be very cautious pagdating sa ganiyang mga bagay (when it comes to such things), whether it could affect our relationship or not with other countries, Sotto said.

But despite the rift, the Majority Leader expressed hopes that the ongoing controversy would not affect the impending signing of a memorandum of understanding that would ensure better treatment of Filipino workers in Kuwait.

Hopefully we will be able to iron this thing out, Sotto said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency