Remains of slain OFW in Kuwait repatriated Friday
Jullebee Ranara’s former employer had no problem paying for the repatriation of the slain domestic helper in Kuwait after his son became the primary suspect for her murder.
Ranara’s remains are expected to arrive in the country by Jan. 27 and will be received by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Foreign Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said on Thursday.
“When you repatriate, the first source should be the employer, but often they don’t pay. In this case, obviously, the employer being the father of the suspect, had no problem funding it. But that was negotiated and that was worked out by the embassy,” De Vega explained during the press briefing.
Despite calls from government officials and rights groups for a deployment ban on the Gulf state, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople has said she would prefer to add more “safeguards” in the country’s 2018 bilateral labor agreements with Kuwait and the pursuit of justice for Ranara.
“It does not mean we are insensitive to such calls…. But I have always believed in social dialogue as the all-important first step in resolving labor migration concerns,” Ople said in a statement on Thursday. “There is a working, productive relationship between the Philippines and Kuwait that can be further enhanced not by imposing a deployment ban but by revisiting the existing Bilateral Labor Agreement,” she added.
This is similar to Ople’s response to the 2021 deployment ban on Saudi Arabia which the Marcos administration lifted just last year. The ban was imposed after more than 11,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were repatriated without getting their years’ work of salaries and benefits.
Last weekend, the Kuwaiti media reported that Ranara’s body was found at the roadside burned and her head smashed open after being run over twice. The Kuwaiti media cited an autopsy report showing she was pregnant and that she was raped.
Call for justice
Rights group Migrante also called for justice for Ranara, saying she was just the latest of the successive deaths among female OFWs in Kuwait, among them Joanna Demafelis and Jeanelyn Villavende, both of whom were domestic helpers physically abused and killed by their employers in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
According to the Department of Migrant Workers, there are 100,223 Filipino workers in the Gulf state as of 2022, more than 47,000 of which were in household services.
Ranara was an avid TikTok user with 42,300 followers. Her last video showed her dancing to a remix of the pop song “Ever After” by Bonnie Bailey which was posted on Jan. 20, just two days before she was reported missing and later confirmed dead on Jan. 22.
The 17-year-old son of the employer had already been detained by Kuwaiti employers. Ople said in an interview that he was the one Ranara complained about to her family before as “cruel.”
De Vega said the Philippine embassy in Kuwait is already in discussion with the Kuwaiti prosecutor handling Ranara’s case.
Remains of slain Filipina OFW in Kuwait will be brought to PH Friday night – DFA
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