NBI starts autopsy on remains of OFW killed in Kuwait

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 28) — The National Bureau of Investigation has started the autopsy on the remains of slain OFW in Kuwait Jullebee Ranara, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said Saturday.

The family of Ranara — whose burnt body was discovered in the desert on Jan. 21 — requested the autopsy, according to DMW Secretary Susan Ople.

READ: DMW vows justice for slain OFW in Kuwait

Kuwaiti authorities have arrested the primary suspect in the killing  the 17-year-old son of Ranara's employer.

The OFW's remains were brought home Friday night.

READ: DMW imposes preventive suspension on employer of OFW killed in Kuwait

"Secretary Ople and the entire department condemns this heinous crime and urges the Kuwaiti government to work on the early resolution of the case and its perpetrators brought to justice," the DMW said in a statement.

Despite the gruesome killing, Ople dismissed calls for a total deployment ban to Kuwait.

"Kapag nag-impose kasi ng [If we impose a] deployment ban, you are sending a message that Kuwait is not suitable for workers," Ople said.

Instead, the secretary is pushing for a better bilateral agreement with Kuwait that will provide additional protection for Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

"Consensus of DMW and the Department of Foreign Affairs was to engage the Kuwaiti government on the discussion about stricter safeguards, more responsive and concrete actions especially on calls for rescue and assistance from OFWs in Kuwait," she added.

READ: DMW not considering Kuwait deployment ban after OFW slay, eyes ‘additional safeguards’

In April 2018, the Philippines banned the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait following the killing of Filipino domestic helper Joanna Daniela Demafelis — whose body was found stuffed in a freezer at an abandoned apartment.

The ban was partially lifted the same year after the two countries signed a protection agreement for Filipino workers in Kuwait.

But in May 2019, OFW Constancia Lago Dayag was killed by her employer in Kuwait.

This was followed by the death of another OFW, Jeanelyn Villavende, in December 2019, which prompted the Philippine government to reimpose a deployment ban in January 2020.

It was lifted a month later after the filing of murder charges against Villavende's employers.

So far, there are 222 OFWs in Kuwait who are seeking repatriation and awaiting resolutions to their cases, according to the DMW.