Manila: The Philippine ambassador to Kuwait has joined his foreign minister in offering apologies to Kuwaiti officials for the activities by the diplomatic missions that were seen as a violation of the sovereignty of the northern Arabian Gulf state.

At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Renato Pedro Villa said the embassy never had the intention to harm Kuwait or violate its sovereignty or hurt Kuwaitis in any way. He expressed the diplomatic mission’s appreciation of Kuwait’s hospitality towards 250,000 Filipinos who consider Kuwait their second home.

Villa said he welcomed the agreement between the Filipino foreign minister and the Kuwaiti ambassador in Manila to set up a hotline to receive emergency and distress calls from Filipinos, to establish centres to help house workers and to facilitate the departure of more than 800 Filipinos following the expiry of the grace period for illegal foreign workers.

Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a press briefing in Manila: “We are apologising for certain incidents that the Kuwaitis view as a violation of their sovereignty.”

Manila has extended the apology to Kuwait’s ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Al Thwaikh and will reiterate it in a formal diplomatic note, he added.

Villa was summoned on Friday and Saturday by the foreign ministry where he was handed notes to protest remarks by Filipino officials and activities by his embassy that were deemed incompatible with the Vienna convention and amounted to abuses of Kuwait’s sovereignty.

Videos emerged last week showing embassy staff helping house workers flee the homes of their employers. The ambassador said they were operations to rescue distressed house workers who needed help while Kuwait saw them as an encroachment on its sovereign rights.

Several lawmakers expressed their anger and called for stringent action, including the expulsion of the ambassador.

The interior ministry said that it arrested three of the people seen helping house workers run away and seized two vehicles used to whisk them away.