Philippine Embassy conducts rescue operations in Kuwait
Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa, in his brief visit to Kuwait, revealed the Philippine embassy’s rescue operations have prevailed in Kuwait for more than a month now.
Rescue operations group consisted of seven teams which ran under the supervision of Executive Director Raul Dado of the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs. This team is said to have run the rescue operations with the guidance of Kuwaiti authorities. Dado makes it clear that Kuwaiti authorities, in spite of their promised assistance, showed some exceptions and didn’t give assistance in cases like sexual and physical abuse. In which case, the team had to fight their own battles.
The team’s efficiency is further explained by Philippine Star daily’s report which states the team had knocked the doors of several houses in search of Filipino domestic workers who were distressed and in need of evacuation. The rescue team, patiently, waits hours outside the building and jumps at the right opportunity to take them inside the van, as done in the aforementioned viral video. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) estimated about 200 unhappy workers were rescued by the Philippine embassy in Kuwait with the help of augmentation team from the home office. DFA also revealed the team has been working overtime to save maximum number of workers from the torment of their employees.
In February 2018, 29-year-old Joanna Demafelis’s body was discovered in the freezer of an Arab couple in Kuwait which, as a result, prompted such cautious steps from the Philippines. This incident has brought to notice the stark reality of the lives of Filipino domestic workers.
Kuwait has shown outright anger to the “serious offenses” it was accused of by the Philippines, out of which conducting operations by sending diplomatic vans to rescue Philippine workers from the shackles of their employee has created a spark among the audience.
Filipino officials named this act as ”rescue operations” but it was looked upon differently by the Kuwait’s foreign ministry. Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa was ordered to visit Kuwait on Friday, April 20th and was sent back with two protest notes. The notes had to do with the recent remarks made against Kuwait by Filipino officials which were seen as a violation of diplomatic norms. Kuwait’s foreign ministry thought of it as an infringement of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which earlier held the countries together.
A spokesperson of ministry expressed his regret and sorrow over such practices which can potentially harm the relationship between these two countries.