KUWAIT CITY, May 2: Former Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa expressed no regrets on his almost three years of tenure in Kuwait as he headed back to the Philippines on Wednesday after Kuwait expelled him due to the controversial rescue video that went viral online, which resulted in a diplomatic row between Kuwait and the Philippines. “It’s been always my focus to help Filipinos in Kuwait, promote their interest and that’s what I’ve been always rallying for since I assumed office at the Department of Foreign Affairs. I was also a former OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) before becoming a Foreign Service Officer,” stated Villa.
He added that all what he had in mind was the protection as well as the welfare of OFWs. Filipinos in Kuwait thanked Villa for the invaluable service that he rendered to the OFWs. There may be no lavish farewell party but emotions poured in as Filipinos in Kuwait paid tribute to Villa.
OFW advocacy groups commended Villa for supporting their projects and worthy causes. “We would like to thank you our dear Ambassador for your genuine public service and promoting the protection, welfare and rights of every Filipino in Kuwait,” stated Dr Chie Umandap, AKO OFW Chairman and Founder.
“We are very saddened that Ambassador Villa is leaving us. We still have a lot of projects lined up this month and the coming months. He was our mentor and helped us in setting up the Sandigan Domestic Workers Association,” stated Mary Ann Abunda, SANDIGAN Kuwait Founder.
Even the Filipino media lauded Villa for his accessibility and transparency, except the remaining week in his office when he received a gag order from DFA Manila.
Some Filipinos in Kuwait believe that Villa was just a collateral damage by owning up the responsibility of some DFA officials allegedly behind the spread of the rescue video.
Meanwhile, the POLO-OWWA Kuwait has only good words for Villa as the team handed him a memento. “Dear Ambassador Villa, like water from omnipotent source, your wisdom and virtues shall continue to nurture our hearts and minds in the service of Filipino workers. Sincerely POLO-OWWA Kuwait,” read out Philippine Labor to Kuwait Attache Resty Dela Fuente as he handed a memento to Villa. In response, Villa thanked the Filipinos in Kuwait for the friendship and for all the support that they have extended to him during his almost three years of stay in Kuwait as he expressed his readiness to face any government probe on the rescue operations of OFWs in Kuwait.
In the meantime, Consul General Noordin Pendosina Lomondot takes over as the Charge d’ Affaires at the embassy.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff