News from home: Investigating slain Kuwait OFW’s case, 'drug war' casualties

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
News from home: Investigating slain Kuwait OFWâs case, 'drug war' casualties
The remains of slain overseas Filipino worker Jullebee Ranara arrive Friday, January 27, 2023.
Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Investigating killings — from the murdered overseas Filipino worker in Kuwait to the previous administration’s "drug war" — these were among our headlines and news stories from the past week we think you should know if you’re a Filipino based abroad.

Overseas Filipinos

  • The remains of slain overseas Filipino worker Jullebee Ranara, whose burnt body was found in the desert last weekend, was repatriated on Friday. Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said the Philippines seeks to update its bilateral labor agreement with Kuwait, shutting down suggestions of a deployment ban to the Gulf state. While investigations on Ranara’s case are ongoing, the DMW said local and international recruiters of the late domestic worker are facing a “recruitment violation case and [other] disciplinary action.”
  • A US citizen of Filipino descent was among the casualties in a mass shooting at a Lunar New Year celebration. The mass shooting at Monterey Park in California left 11 dead, including 68-year-old Valentino Alvero.
  • The Philippines is allowing the deployment of its workers to India — lifting a ban that lasted for over a month — on the condition that departing OFWs'  employment contracts are authenticated by the Philippine embassy there. 
  • Senators are seeking to clean up ranks at the Bureau of Immigration to put a stop to human trafficking schemes, while the Department of Migrant Workers is planning to set up four new offices abroad that will double-check and authenticate work permits of OFWs.

Work and the economy

  • The International Labor Organization’s High-Level Tripartite Mission visited the country last week, with groups urging the delegation to investigate working conditions of nurses, take into account the climate crisis, and the recent abduction of development workers
  • The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. admitted that two service providers of Philippine offshore gaming operators linked to the kidnapping of Filipinos are still operating. Senators urged the agency to take action, as a commissioned survey showed a majority of Filipinos found POGO operations to be harmful for the country.
  • President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is calling for the passage of a 'magna carta' for barangay health workers, which would facilitate incentives, to encourage more professionals to work at the grassroots level. 
  • A senator has filed Senate Bill 945, or the Freelancers Protection Act to make services more accessible to freelance workers. This includes making registration and health benefits available online.

Politics and the nation

  • The International Criminal Court has given the go signal for an investigation on former President Rodrigo Duterte’s "drug war" that killed thousands. The Commission on Human Rights said it is ready to assist Marcos Jr. should he decide to cooperate with the international body on the investigation.
  • Politicians are still pushing for the adoption of the sovereign Maharlika Wealth Fund and are now proposing to sell government assets to fund it.
  • Senators are insistent on making joining the Reserve Officers' Training Corps mandatory in higher educational institutions even if defense officials are saying they do not have enough manpower to assist with the implementation of the program.
  •  Amid calls for constitutional changes, professors from the University of the Philippines are asking Marcos Jr. to clarify his stance on the matter since most of the previous calls have been "executive-driven." Duterte made changing the constitution — for a shift to federalism — a campaign promise in his 2016 run.

You can view last week’s rundown here or sign up for the newsletter here




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