Villanueva pushes for greater OFW protection after Ranara killer’s upholding of conviction

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva lauded the decision of the Kuwaiti appellate court to uphold the guilty verdict on the killer of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Jullebee Ranara, stressing that the government will not allow crimes against modern day heroes abroad to go unpunished.

“The government will stop at nothing until justice is served to our OFWs who have suffered in foreign lands to give their families better lives,” Villanueva said.

“We thank the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Migrant Workers, Department of Migrant Workers, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and other agencies that helped pursue the case against Ranara’s killer,” he added.

Villanueva, who principally sponsored and authored the DMW Act in the 18th Congress, said it is vital that the department must ensure complete staffing in its regional offices to address illegal recruitment and cases of indentured labor. It should also capacitate personnel posted in the Migrant Workers’ Offices given the expanded functions to cover all OFWs, whether documented or undocumented.

The body of Ranara, a household service worker, was found burned and buried in the desert on January 21, 2023.

“Napakapait po ng sinapit ni Jullebee habang nakikipagsapalaran sa Kuwait.  Hindi na po maibabalik ang kanyang buhay ng conviction na ito pero umaasa tayo na mabawasan man lang ang sakit na naramdaman ng kanyang mga mahal sa buhay,” Villanueva said.

The Majority Leader said the fate of Ranara and other OFW victims of injustice should serve as a stark reminder to continuously ensure the safety and welfare of Filipinos abroad.

“The overarching challenge remains that many of our OFWs face the perils of working in a foreign land.  We must remain vigilant and continue to collaborate with host countries so our OFWs will be protected,” he said.

“Stronger bilateral agreements should be pursued to guarantee the implementation of standard contracts, just compensation and an effective system for dealing with OFWs in distress,” Villanueva added.