MANILA: The Philippine government conveyed on Friday its gratitude to Kuwaiti authorities for their pursuit of justice for the family of a Filipina worker who was killed earlier this year.
The murder of Jullebee Ranara, 35, sent shockwaves across the Philippines when her charred body was found abandoned in a desert in Kuwait in late January.
She was one of more than 260,000 overseas Filipino workers living in Kuwait. Like her, most are women employed as domestic helpers.
Soon after the incident, Kuwaiti police arrested and charged the 17-year-old son of Ranara’s employer over the killing.
On Thursday evening, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs announced that he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison, as it acknowledged “the efforts undertaken by the Kuwaiti authorities to effect a speedy resolution of the case.”
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took to social media to welcome the development.
“I commend the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, the Department of Migrant Workers, and the Kuwaiti Authorities for their continued pursuit of justice for our OFW, Jullebee Ranara,” he said.
“We hope that the appeal process will be conducted fairly, and justice will be served accordingly.”
Relations between the Philippines and Kuwait have soured after Ranara’s murder and both countries set limits on the employment of overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
The Kuwaiti court’s verdict received a positive response among Philippine lawmakers.
Marissa Magsino from a party-list group established for the benefit of overseas Filipino workers and their families said in a statement that “the long arm of the law has given justice to Jullebee Ranara and her bereaved family” and that she hoped that “the justice achieved through the court’s decision will somehow lessen the sting of the wounds they carry.”
Ron Salo, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs, said the conviction was a “significant milestone for justice and accountability.
“I commend the Kuwaiti courts for their commitment in upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice prevails,” he said, adding that the verdict sent a “clear message that crimes against our Filipino migrant workers will not go unpunished,” but more needed to be done to protect them.
“We need to be steadfast in our efforts of creating safer and more secure working conditions abroad,” Salo said.
“The Filipino government, alongside the international community, must continue to collaborate to ensure the safety and welfare of our overseas workers.”