MANILA The video showing embassy-led rescue operations of distressed Filipinos in Kuwait is not a publicity stunt for the presidential elections, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday evening.
"If I will be using it for politics, I should have come to Kuwait, and rescued the Filipina myself," Cayetano said in an interview with reporters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.
Cayetano made the statement following calls for him to resign supposedly by a group of unnamed DFA career diplomats.
The DFA secretary pointed out that he never said he will run again for a higher post in the next elections.
"Let us just do our job. I might never run again; I've never said that I'm running again," he said, dismissing the allegations as "obvious" criticisms.
"There are a hundred million Filipinos, anyone can criticize. But the criticisms are obvious. How many times have I told you, 'Please, I don't want to be interviewed.' You get angry at me because you said I could no longer be interviewed since becoming Secretary of DFA. But when I get interviewed, some would say I'm into politicking," he said.
Cayetano said he accepts criticisms that would help improve his work.
"We will listen and we will adjust. If it will not help, sorry but we are focused on our jobs. We have to solve the problems all over the world, not only in Kuwait," he said.
The Kuwait government was angered after videos of rescue of Filipinos from their employers' home circulated on both social and mainstream media. This led to the escalation of the diplomatic spat between the two countries that even ended with Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa's expulsion from the Gulf state.
On Wednesday, a letter from unnamed DFA career diplomats, asking Cayetano and his appointees to resign, was published in a Philippine daily. The resignation call was allegedly sent to MalacaAang.
The DFA, however, noted that "the Office of the President has not seen such letter."
During the interview, Cayetano stood pat he is doing his job as a DFA secretary who takes care of Filipinos abroad and implements the chief executive's independent foreign policy.
"If I'm not doing my job and we're not taking care of OFWs abroad� I won't list down the achievements last year of the DFA and of DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) under the direction of our President�if we're not doing our job, we don't deserve to be here," Cayetano said
If there are people making calls for his resignation, the official said he accepts it as their privilege.
"I respect that. But don't use the name of the Department and the career officials unless they are really the ones calling (for my ouster)," he said. "If the President wants me to go, I will go happily and I will continue to support him. If a majority in the Department of Foreign Affairs says, 'We cannot follow you', I have no business being there."
Meanwhile, Cayetano revealed he had meetings with the majority of the career diplomats, and the reception, so far, is "they understand."
"They might not necessarily agree with our direction, but they understand," he pointed out. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency