Why some people miss former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario

May 7, 2018 - 6:23 PM
Albert del Rosario
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario.(Interaksyon/Bernard Testa/File photo)

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.

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.

According to government sources, the former ambassador to the United States met with foreign ministers in Yemen, Iraq, and Egypt throughout the various crises.

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.

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.