Kuwait cuts off power, water to Philippine envoyâs home
Passengers line up at the Kuwait Airlines check-in counter at the NAIA the other night. Some of the passengers were overseas Filipino workers returning to Kuwait while others were bound for Italy via the Gulf state.
Rudy Santos

Kuwait cuts off power, water to Philippine envoy’s home

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - May 3, 2018 - 1:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Kuwait has cut off water and electricity at the official residence of Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa after he was expelled and declared persona non grata for allowing the rescue of distressed Filipino workers in the Gulf state, sources said yesterday.

Villa, asked by Kuwait last week to leave in seven days, was scheduled to arrive in Manila last night. He was ex- pected to be met at the airport by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and the two would face the media.

“After the expulsion, they cut off his water and electricity,” a source told The STAR.

Utilities in Kuwait are run by the Ministry of Electricity and Water Supply.

“The ambassador was staying at the embassy. It was no longer safe for him to stay at his residence after he was declared persona non grata,” another source said.

Kuwait also issued warrants of arrest and a travel ban against DFA Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (OMWA) executive director Raul Dado, who was pinpointed by the four Filipino drivers as the one who supervised the seven teams from the embassy and the DFA that carried out the rescue missions.

Arrest warrants were also issued against two other diplomatic personnel, Francis Baquiran and Omar Hassan, as they were also identified by the drivers they hired.

“They can stay at the embassy but Kuwaitis could turn off water and electricity to force them to surrender,” a source said.

Sources said the three sneaked into the embassy instead of going back to their hotel when Dado was told that embassy staff saw his photos all over immigration counters at the airport.

The drivers, who were hired to bring the distressed Filipino workers to the airport, were arrested and believed to have been forced to give details on the rescue operations.

Career diplomats at the DFA have called for the resignation of Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his appointees to different positions in the department for gross incompetence and blunder that resulted in the expulsion of Villa and strained relations with Kuwait.

The career officers did not refer to the Union of Foreign Service Officers (UNIFORS) as the organization of career diplomats behind the letter but DFA officials, who asked not to be named, confirmed the authenticity of the letter that circulated to Philippine diplomatic missions abroad and was sent to President Détente.

In the letter, the DFA career officers said “the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait has unmasked the gross incompetence of DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his top aides who are now a liability to the Duterte administration.”

The officers also pointed to DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, lawyer Sarah Lou Arriola, a non-career official, as the one behind the rescue missions.

They said Arriola was apparently ignorant of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations that she even went to Kuwait twice to personally instruct the rapid response teams (RRT) to intensify rescue operations.

The Philippines apologized to Kuwait last week for the rescue operation after the Gulf state protested the mission, which it viewed as violation of diplomatic norms and infringement on Kuwait’s sovereignty.

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