Duterte to bare Sunday 'personally crafted' stance on diplomatic row with Kuwait - Roque

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 27 2018 09:06 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2018 09:40 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte is seen here in his recent meeting with Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City. Presidential photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will announce the country's position on its diplomatic row with Kuwait upon his arrival in Davao City from Singapore on Sunday, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte "personally crafted" the position. 

"I confirm that he will announce the Philippines position personally during his arrival statement in Davao on Sunday. He wants to announce it on Philippine soil," Roque said in a press briefing in Singapore, where the President is attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit. 

"I have to say that the President, being a lawyer with 30 years of executive experience, certainly had a very different reaction to the controversy. It was a course of action that was not specifically recommended by anyone."

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Roque said he does not know what will happen to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf state being finalized by the two sides.

"I do not know anymore what will happen to the MOU, I could only surmise. I do not know, everything is up in the air now with the Kuwaiti ambassador being recalled and [the] Philippine ambassador being declared persona non grata," he said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said Duterte was surprised with Kuwait’s decision to expel Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa following the release of a video showing Philippine embassy officials rescuing distressed Filipino workers in Kuwait.

The Philippines apologized for the incident, which Kuwait viewed as a violation of its sovereignty. Manila also assured the Gulf state that it "will follow their laws."

The Philippines earlier banned the deployment of Filipino workers to the Gulf state and started repatriating those who would like to come home following reported abuses and deaths of Philippine citizens there, most recently domestic worker Joanna Demafelis. 

Demafelis' body was found in a freezer in Kuwait in February, more than a year since she went missing. Her employers, a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife, were sentenced to death for her slay.

Her death had angered Duterte, saying he was willing to take "drastic steps" to make sure no other Filipino worker would end up dead in the Gulf state or any other Arab nation. 

Over 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, most of whom are domestic helpers, data from the Philippine government show.