Duterte names Mamao as special envoy to Kuwait
President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Abdullah Mamao as his special envoy to Kuwait.
Mamao, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers and Muslim concerns, has been designated as special envoy amid the Philippine rift with the Gulf state.
"He (Mamao) was tasked to return to Kuwait immediately to make sure that all Filipinos who should be sent back home, can return home," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing Tuesday.
According to him, Mamao returned from Kuwait and he had "good news" for the president.
"The good news though, we will withhold until we've had actual realization," Roque said.
The Philippines and Kuwait have been trying to fix their relationship following some irritants in the past.
Kuwait expelled Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Rene Villa following a video that the Department of Foreign Affairs released late last month, showing covert rescue operations by the Philippine Embassy staff of abused overseas Filipino workers. Kuwait also recalled its ambassador in Manila.
Duterte declareda total deployment ban of Filipino workers in Kuwait after the murder of a Filipina domestic helper whose remains were found inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait last February.
The Philippines and Kuwait are now working on a labor deal for the protection of OFWs.
Asked about Mamao's specific mission to Kuwait, Roque said, "We all know that we have unsettled business."
He cited the case of three Filipino diplomats who could not return home and the four drivers who have assisted in the rescue mission and have been detained by the Kuwaiti authorities.
"We want to see our three diplomats home. We want the four drivers completely cleared because these are residents of Kuwait...and then there are about 800 runaways that we want to bring home. So the mandate of Secretary Mamao is to bring everyone home and to possibly normalize ties with Kuwait, sign the MOA (memorandum of agreement) if possible," he explained.
He said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III would no longer proceed with his trip to Kuwait because Mamao would be the one to go. Celerina Monte/DMS