MANILA The rescue mission conducted by the Philippine Embassy to save distressed overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait could have led to an "international incident" that could deepen the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, who is a member of the House of Representatives' committee on foreign relations, said that while the intent of the rescue operation was good, the execution was "poorly planned, undiplomatic, and irresponsible."
Biazon said it is basic principle in law enforcement that coordination between agencies should be done to avoid a "misencounter or misunderstanding."
"In this instance, it could have led to a bloody incident if Kuwaiti police had chanced upon the rescue operation and mistaken it for a kidnapping," he said.
"From the point of view of diplomatic practices and established norms, rules and conventions, coordination is also called for, out of respect and acknowledgment of the host country's sovereignty and local laws," he added.
Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa received protest notes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait following a viral video showing Philippine embassy personnel rescuing distressed Filipino domestic workers from Kuwaiti homes.
Biazon said Philippine embassy officials in Kuwait should explain why they chose to violate the diplomatic norms governing the relations of the two countries by conducting a "covert operation," which puts the Philippines' reputation at risk and its relationship with the host country in jeopardy.
"The perception that this is a publicity stunt under the cover of a rescue mission comes from the fact that immediately after the rescue, a video of the 'covert operation' obviously taken by the raiding team itself was posted on social media for maximum publicity effect," Biazon said.
"Not only does that go against the nature of a covert operation, it also seemed to be a slap on the face of the host country, showing the impunity that the raiding team displayed within its territory," he added.
The lawmaker called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to take decisive action against the officials involved.
He also said Villa must be recalled and the other embassy officials responsible for the operation be held accountable.
Source: Philippine News Agency