CEBU CITY - Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday rejected a media report that they had engaged in a shouting match.
The Philippine Star, citing sources, reported Monday that Bello and Cayetano yelled at each other in Malacañang after Kuwait expelled Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa from the Gulf state. It quoted a source as saying that the 2 argued on who was to blame for the Kuwait fiasco.
"Sobrang fake news naman 'yan. One, we didn't have a meeting in Malacañang. And two, how could we shout at each other?" Bello told reporters during the turnover of funds for an outreach program here.
(That's fake news.)
"Nagtatanong lang ako sa kanya. Hindi nagsigawan," added Cayetano.
(I only asked him. There was no shouting.)
Kuwait last week expelled Villa and recalled its own envoy from Manila after Philippine Embassy officials rescued allegedly distressed overseas Filipino workers from Kuwaiti homes.
The incident comes amid a ban on the deployment of OFWs to the Gulf state, which President Rodrigo Duterte ordered in February following a string of reported abuses and deaths of Filipino workers, including maid Joanna Demafelis, whose body was discovered inside a freezer.
Some 252,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many as maids. They are among over 2 million employed in the region, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy, according to government data.