Ambassador Renato Villa speaks during a press conference at the Philippine embassy in Kuwait on Saturday.
AFP
Philippine ambassador to Kuwait declared persona non-grata
(philstar.com) - April 25, 2018 - 10:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa has been declared persona non-grata and ordered to leave the country within one week by the Kuwait Foreign Ministry, the Kuwait State News Agency reported Wednesday.

The foreign ministry cited the Philippines' "flagrant and grave breach of rules and regulations that govern diplomatic action, where staff helped Filipina house helpers run away."

Philippine officials had sent "reinforcements to the embassy in Kuwait; comprised of seven teams affiliated with the foreign undersecretary for labor in immigration at pretext of rescuing female housemaids in Kuwait. The State of Kuwait Government affirms that such acts and statements constitute explicit breach of international principles and covenants," the ministry said.

The report cited violations of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, namely Provision 41 that bars infringement on individuals' prerogatives and immunities, respecting states' laws and non-intervening in their local affairs.

The foreign ministry also recalled the Kuwaiti ambassador to the Philippines for consultation.

The decision came after the Philippines apologized on Tuesday for recent attempts by embassy staff to “rescue” Filipino domestic workers from their employers’ homes amid reports of abuse, which Kuwait viewed as a violation of its sovereignty.

READ: Philippines apologizes to Kuwait

Villa earlier said it was never the intention of the Philippines to violate the sovereignty and internal processes of Kuwait or offend the sensitivities of the Kuwaiti government and the Kuwaiti people when the embassy was compelled to respond to the calls for assistance of OFWs.

Last Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano issued an apology for the actions of the embassy in the past weeks.

“I join our Secretary of Foreign Affairs in extending this apology,” Villa said also last Tuesday. The ambassador appealed for understanding of the Kuwaiti government and the Kuwaiti people.

READ: Arrested Filipinos in Kuwait, drivers of OFW rescue teams — Cayetano

The Kuwait Foreign Ministry emphasized the necessity of tackling the issue "with wisdom and prudence, without any negative and harmful media sensationalism for sake of attaining the common aspiration toward distinctive and sound bilateral relations between the two friendly counties."

Kuwait and the Philippines established diplomatic relations in 1979. - Matikas Santos

DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS RENATO VILLA
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