MANILA — A lawmaker wants the "most stringent penalty" imposed on the suspect behind the brutal killing of overseas Filipino worker Jullebee Ranara in Kuwait.
The 35-year-old domestic worker was found dead in a desert in the Gulf State on Jan. 21. An autopsy report showed Ranara was pregnant at the time of her death.
"I'm calling for whatever is the most stringent penalty allowed under Kuwaiti law because, of course, we cannot impose exactly our [law]," Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo told ANC's "Headstart".
Kuwaiti authorities have arrested the 17-year-old son of Ranara's employer.
"In Kuwait, I understand they have death penalty but I'm not so sure with respect to their legal system whether they allow the death of a minor," Salo said.
Salo earlier urged the Department of Migrant Workers to create a database of employers and their families and a blacklisting system for those who have a record of abuse on OFWs.
"Any abuses that have been reported would be considered perhaps a reason for them to be blacklisted and for them not to be given any opportunity to hire our domestic helpers," he told ANC.
The lawmaker, who chairs the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, added that Ranara's recruitment agency could have been more proactive in monitoring the abuses.
To date, there are 260,000 OFWs in Kuwait, where 70 percent are domestic helpers, Salo said.
Sen. Raffy Tulfo disclosed Monday that some 196 Filipino workers have died in Kuwait since 2016.
Nearly 80 percent of the deaths were due to physical abuse, he added, citing data from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
The DMW has ordered a review of the bilateral labor agreement between Philippines and Kuwait following Ranara's death.