File photo: Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, US, September 23, 2017. Image Credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Manila: The Philippines has reportedly apologised to Kuwait for its action to help Filipino domestic workers flee from the homes of their employers.

For Filipino officials, the actions were efforts to rescue their distressed countrymen, but Kuwait viewed them as a violation of its sovereignty and twice summoned Ambassador Renato Villa to hand him protest notes against abusive remarks and unacceptable behaviour by embassy staff.

This was the 15-second video sent by Philippine authorities to Manila reporters, showing Philippine embassy staff in Kuwait rescuing a maid in distress, which viewed as a violation of its sovereignty.

“We are apologising for certain incidents that the Kuwaitis view as a violation of their sovereignty,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a press briefing, abs-cbn reported on Tuesday.

Cayetano said only Kuwaiti police were authorised to respond to reports of abuse in private residences and that the Philippines assured the northern Arabian Gulf state that it “will follow their laws.”

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.

However, Cayetano said Philippine officials will continue to respond to reports of abuse of their nationals.

“As a general rule, we coordinate with the Kuwaiti government... There are certain exceptions: when there’s life-or-death threat to our nationals, when we receive a call that says someone is going to kill me or I’m in danger,” he said.

“Action has to be swift and action has to be taken right away.”

According to the ABS-CBN TV network report, the Philippines will upgrade its 24/7 hotline for distressed workers, boost shelters for OFWs and work closer with the Kuwaiti police, he said.

Cayetano insisted Kuwait had made “no threat” to expel Ambassador Villa and given the assurance that diplomats will not be detained.