The jobs of around 260,000 Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait could be in jeopardy following increased diplomatic tensions due to controversies surrounding rescue efforts for distressed OFWs.
Recently, people aired on social media how much they miss former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who, during his tenure from 2011 to 2016, led the repatriation of an estimated 24,000 Filipinos in war-stricken countries like Tunisia, Libya, and Syria.
I miss Albert Del Rosario. He knew how to help OFWs.
— Daughter of Mindanao (@tessgarcia) April 27, 2018
True patriots doesn’t look nor harp for recognition of their acts. You don’t talk about patriotism, you act it. Patriotism is kinetic energy.
— ??ג’וגאד?? ?? (@VeneeR58) April 30, 2018
Del Rosario’s Best Practices
In 2011, barely three days of being sworn into office, del Rosario flew to Tripoli, the capital city of north African country Libya, to help repatriate around 400 Filipinos from the city which was on the brink of civil war following the spread of the Arab Spring uprising.
The wave of unrest began in neighboring countries like Egypt and Yemen, which are also home to more than 1,870 OFWs.
Del Rosario led the team that rescued six Filipino nurses and one engineer who were trapped in the embattled Libyan city of Misrata for 23 days.
In 2014, an international report said that del Rosario led the mass evacuation of around 13,000 Filipino workers amid the ongoing civil war in Libya.
In 2012, he also handled the safe return of 280 Filipinos from the devastation in Syria brought by the Islamic State.
While ensuring the Filipinos’ safety, del Rosario kept the positive bilateral relations with these nations under civil strife by meeting with his counterparts there.
Under del Rosario’s watch, the DFA had extended assistance to over 80,000 OFWs and their families.
He resigned as secretary on March 2016, three months before the end of the Aquino administration, citing health reasons.
Comparing the old with the new
While there are many officials involved in the Kuwait row, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has received most of the criticism.
People deemed the former senator to be “incompetent” for his position and called for his resignation online.
Diplomats usually enjoy diplomatic immunity. These kidnapping charges mean one thing: our friendship with Kuwait has been heavily compromised by inutile and incompetent Alan Peter Cayetano, risking many more OFW lives in the process.
— Gibby Gorres (@gibbygorres) May 4, 2018
Critics called Cayetano “amateurish,” which was also echoed by career officers in the DFA calling for his resignation in a report.
Another report stated that the Kuwait government had cut off water and electricity supply in the official residence of Philippine ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa following his expulsion in the gulf state.
Cayetano denied all reports against him and his appointees and declared that he will only resign if the President wants him to.