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DMW looking into possible liability of recruiter of slain OFW in Kuwait

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Wednesday said it is looking into the possible liability of the recruitment agency of the 35-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was found dead in Kuwait.

Interviewed on GMA News' Unang Balita, DMW Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac said the department is checking if the agency properly monitored victim Julleebee Ranara following her deployment to Kuwait.

"'Yan ay tinitignan din ngayon ni Undersecretary Bernard Olalia [Undersecretary Bernard Olalia is now looking into that]," Cacdac said when asked if Ranara's recruiter can be held liable in her killing.

"Ang isang nakikita ko ngayon dito, una 'yung kanilang pag-monitor. Kasi under the DMW rules, dapat merong monitoring at regular reporting ng kalagayan ng isang OFW lalo na yung mga OFW kasambahay sa kalagayan nila sa abroad," he added.

(What I see here, first, is the recruiter's monitoring. Under the DMW rules, a recruiter should have monitoring and regular reporting on the condition of an OFW, especially housekeepers.)

Cacdac said there is no record that Ranara or her recruiter has reported any issues with her employer to authorities.

Ranara's burned body was found in the middle of the desert on Sunday. She was reportedly raped and impregnated by the suspect, who is the 17-year-old son of her employer. The victim was also reportedly beaten and ran over by the suspect's car twice.

The suspect is now under the custody of the police.

Ranara's family said they were in contact with her until Friday evening. Cacdac said Ranara called and told her family that the child of her employer had threatened her as they had a misunderstanding.

According to Cacdac, the DMW is still waiting for an official report from the Office of the Prosecutor in Kuwait.

In a statement, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait said it greatly appreciates the swift action and response of the Kuwaiti Police, especially in the apprehension of the suspected perpetrator, and in the investigation of Ranara's death.

It added that the Embassy will continue to coordinate with Kuwaiti officials for the resolution of the case and the release and repatriation of the victim's remains.

"The Embassy and the Filipino community in Kuwait extend their deepest condolences to the family of the late Ms. Ranara as they mourn the loss of their loved one," the Embassy said.

DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople earlier said a deployment ban to Kuwait is not needed following Ranara's death, but the DMW is considering reforms and bilateral labor agreements with Kuwait due to the incident.

In 2018, then-President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a deployment ban to Kuwait following the killing of Filipina domestic worker Joanna Daniela Demafelis. The ban was lifted in February 2020.

Bring home remains of Ranara

At the public briefing on Wednesday, DMW spokesperson Toby Nebrida said they are coordinating with the Kuwait authorities and police to bring home the remains of Ranara.

"May mga ilang document at proseso na kailangan matupad and we have to comply with that upang maiuwi na po natin ang labi ni Julleebee Ranara at tayo naman ay we are hopeful na ilang araw na lamang po ay maibabalik na ang kanyang remains po dito sa Pilipinas,” he said.

(There are some documents and processes that are needed to be fulfilled and we have to comply with that so that we can bring home the remains of Julleebee Ranara and we are hopeful that in just a few days, her remains will be returned here in the Philippines.)

Nebrida said they also receive reports from OFWs in Kuwait regarding cases of abuse and maltreatment.

He then highlighted the importance of revisiting the current bilateral labor arrangements between the Philippines and Kuwait.

"There are cases of contract violation, abuse, and maltreatment ng mga OFWs. Kaya panahon na kailangan balikan natin revisahin natin yung kasulukuyan kasunduan between pamahalaan natin at pamahalaan ng Kuwait tungkol sa ating bilateral labor arrangements," Nebrida said.

(There are cases of contract violation, abuse, and maltreatment of OFWs. So it's time to revisit and revise the current agreement between our government and the government of Kuwait regarding our bilateral labor arrangements.)

"Kailangan yatang pagtibayin pa yung protection mechanism for our workers hindi na tayo papayag na ganun na lang at nakakalusot yung violations," he added.

(The protection mechanism for our workers needs to be strengthened, we will not allow these violations to slip through.) — with Richa Noriega/KBK/RSJ, GMA Integrated News