More OFW protection pushed despite Ranara killer’s sentence
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers reminded the government of the need to better protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as a Kuwaiti court decided to convict the killer of Jullebee Ranara — the migrant worker who was slain and left in a desert last January.
In a statement on Friday, Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo lauded the Kuwaiti court’s decision to convict Turki Ayed Al-Azmi over Ranara’s death but insisted that the government should work toward ensuring that such incidents do not happen again.
“I commend the Kuwaiti courts for their commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice prevails. This verdict sends a clear message that crimes against our Filipino migrant workers will not go unpunished,” Salo, chairperson of the House Committee on Overseas Affairs, said.
“Jullebee Ranara’s case is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by Filipino Migrant Workers in their pursuit of better opportunities overseas. The Filipino government, alongside the international community, must continue to collaborate to ensure the safety and welfare of our overseas workers” he added.
Similarly, OFW Rep. Marissa Magsino said they welcome justice delivery to Ranara’s bereaved family. However, she noted that the concerns regarding the safety of OFWs are still present.
“The long arm of the law has given justice to Jullebee Ranara and her bereaved family. Though her family still has to contend with the deep loss of their loved one, it is our hope that the justice achieved through the court’s decision will somehow lessen the sting of the wounds they carry,” Magsino said in a separate statement.
“But the overarching issue still remains — there must be a fundamental transformation of the conditions under which Filipino migrant domestic workers can work and live in their host countries. We need key reforms through stronger bilateral agreements that should include a standard contract, a system for rescuing workers in distress, and investigating worker abuses and deaths,” she added.
Both lawmakers asked the public not to forget Ranara’s fate.
“Huwag natin iiwan ang kaso ni Jullebee Ranara bilang numerong dumagdag sa istatistika ng mga inabusong OFWs bagkus ay maging hamon ito na paigtingin ang proteksyon ng ating gobyerno laban sa abuso at pananamantala sa ating mga OFWs,” Magsino said.
(Let us not leave the case of Jullebee Ranara as just another statistic to the growing number of abused OFWs; instead, this should challenge the government to intensify efforts to protect migrant workers from abuses.)
“We cannot forget that Jullebee Ranara lost her life tragically, as such we need to be steadfast in our efforts of creating safer and more secure working conditions abroad,” Salo noted.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced late Thursday night that a Kuwaiti court had convicted Ranara’s killer sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder and one year for driving without a license.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said the sentences were reduced because the killer — the son of Ranara’s employer — was a minor.
After Ranara was killed, authorities discovered her body burned and buried in a desert last January 21, 2023.