She could be your mother, sister, tita, neice, or friend.....
Mga Kababayan sa New York at New Jersey,
This week, the Kuwaiti High Court of Cassation will begin hearing oral arguments for the case of Marilou Ranario, a 33 year old Filipina domestic worker from Surigao del Sur in jail and on death row. Marilou was convicted in 2005 for the murder of her employer, a man who was viciously abusing and raping her. The victim's family have since withdrawn their lawsuits against Marilou, yet she remains on death row (please see attached fact sheet.) and languishing in jail awaiting her sentence. She is currently supporting 2 children back in the Philippines while her husband can't find stable work as a jeepney driver.
Abuse, rape, and maltreatment are common experiences for our hardworking overseas Filipino workers, who are forced to choose a life abroad in order to escape poverty and provide for their families. Marilou represents all of us; yet despite this reality, the Philippine government is doing nothing to save her from execution by hanging. As was the case of Flor Contemplacion, a Filipina domestic worker who was executed by the Singapore judicial system in 1995, it is up to the worldwide community of Filipinos and migrant workers to stand up for justice when governments fail to protect their people, and show their might on the streets. Please visit and sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com / marilou/petition.html and join us for...
SAVE MARILOU RANARIO!
COMMUNITY PRAYER VIGIL TO SAVE THE LIFE OF MARILOU RANARIO, FILIPINA DOMESTIC WORKER ON DEATH ROW IN KUWAIT
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH, 7PM
MEET IN FRONT OF KRYSTAL'S
6902 ROOSEVELT AVE, CORNER 69TH
Sponsored by Kabalikat-Philippine Forum (Filipina Domestic Workers Support Network), the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) and the Save Marilou Ranario Movement (SMRM)
SAVE MARILOU RANARIO!
NO TO ANOTHER FLOR CONTEMPLACION!
statement of concerned overseas Filipinos in New York City
We, NYC-based Filipina household workers, nannies, caregivers, along with other concerned overseas Filipinos and advocates of basic human rights, demand that our sister, Marilou Ranario, be released immediately from the Kuwaiti jail she continues to languish in since being convicted for the death of her employer in 2005.
Marilou, a 33-year old domestic worker who was viciously maltreated and abused by her employer, represents all of us overseas Filipinos who must leave our families back home in order to ensure they can eat. In order to escape poverty back in our homeland, we are left with little choice to but brave uncertain shores where we know abuse, exploitation, and maltreatment are common for Filipinos and other migrant workers. We also know a hard and lonely life overseas without the company of our families is better than a guaranteed life where our children will starve and have no opportunities. This was Marilou's story as well.
Marilou was a teacher from Surigao Del Sur that opted to leave to become a domestic worker abroad because she earned a more stable living doing so. She supported 2 small children back in the Philippines while her husband was unable to find stable work as a jeepney driver.
Back in 1995, the entire Filipino nation and overseas Filipino community struggled against the Philippine government's systemic neglect of the plight of overseas Filipino workers with the case Flor Contemplacion, a Filipino nanny who was hung after being wrongfully convicted for the death of her employer's child. As was the case with the high profile movement to set Flor free, the Philippine government made no political effort to save Flor's life. We fear the same will happen to Marilou.
Earlier this year, the mysterious and still-unresolved death of New York-based domestic worker Fely Garcia further proved the Philippine government's absence of concern and sympathy for OFW's abused and even killed.
Like Marilou, Flor and Fely, we are all victims of a Philippine government system known as the Labor Export Policy. This was originally established as a temporary measure to solve the country's crisis of joblessness and landlessness, forcing families to turn abroad for stable income, but the Philippine governments after Marcos turned it into a permanent fixture and means to keep the pathetic Philippine government afloat. Today, over 3000 Filipinos, mostly women, leave their children behind to work abroad. The total remittances that prop up the Philippine economy coming from overseas labor totals to more than $11 billion. These come from the suffering and toils of mainly Filipino women workers overseas.
The crime of the Labor Export Policy is that there is no program for protection for women like Flor and Marilou, who become victims of abuse, maltreatment, exploitation, rape, and indentured servitude. In many cases, Filipino workers are treated like animals, much less second-class citizens with no rights. Filipino women fall vulnerable to sexual abuse commonly.
But they are still Philippine citizens. Philippine embassies and consulate offices abroad are absolutely useless and fail to assert protections for our valued overseas workers, aggressively sending more workers overseas to face similar fates. The Arroyo administration has remained painfully silent while boasting of an economy sustained by migrant laborers like Marilou.
We say shame on the Philippine government for taking Marilou's remittances and doing nothing to legally protect her in a foreign land where she clearly has no rights as a human being. In this sense, the Arroyo government is no different than the foreign employers that treat Filipino workers like dogs in their host countries, and women workers as slaves.
We call on the Kuwaiti Court of Cassation, that will hear oral arguments this Tuesday, November 13th, on Marilou's case to strongly consider the united voice of Filipinos worldwide who today are taking the streets in defense of their Filipina sister, and decide not to execute her!
SAVE MARILOU RANARIO!
NO TO ANOTHER FLOR CONTEMPLACION!
JUSTICE FOR ALL OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS!
PROTECT THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF OUR OFW'S!
KABALIKAT-PHILIPPINE FORUM (DOMESTIC WORKERS SUPPORT GROUP)
NY COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR FILIPINO CONCERNS (NAFCON)
November 13, 2007
Reference: Lorena Sanchez, Philippine Forum-KABALIKAT (Domestic Workers Support), email: email@example.com
NY Filipinos Come Together to Say: Save Marilou Ranario!
New York-- The Filipina domestic workers support group known as KABALIKAT, a program of the community service organization Philippine Forum, spearheaded a solemn prayer vigil on the busy intersection of Roosevelt and 69th Street in Woodside, Queens last night as part of an international day of action to save the life of 33 year old Filipina domestic worker Marilou Ranario.
The group recited one full decade of the rosary for the Ranario, convicted of murdering her employer back in 2005 and currently on death row in Kuwait, despite large noise coming above from the 7 train. Marilou was also a victim of consistent abuse, maltreatment, and forced into indentured servitude by her employer.
"She represents all of us," states KABALIKAT Co-coordinator Shirley Cayugan-O'Brien. "We believe she is the real victim, not the criminal. We are all victims of a criminally-negligent Labor Export Policy."
Cayugan-O'Brien further explained it was the lack of protection offered by the Philippine government, particularly the overseas Philippine consular officers, that continue to victimize women workers like Marilou, who many fear will suffer the same fate as Singapore-based domestic worker Flor Contemplacion who was hung for a wrongful conviction of murder back in 1995.
November 13th was called as an international day of action by Migrante International, an alliance of overseas Filipino organizations of which KABALIKAT is a member. November 13th also marks the hearing of oral arguments of Marilou's case by the Kuwaiti Court of Cassation. The employer's family have since withdrawn their previous lawsuits against Ranario, a mother of two children from Surigao Del Sur.
KABALIKAT, Migrante International and the broader Save Marilou Ranario Movement (SMRM) claims the Kuwaiti Court will take into high consideration the public aspect of Marilou's case, in which strong public outpouring of support can also make a difference.
Actions were also held in Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, and throughout the Philippines.
Philippine Forum-KABALIKAT was joined by fellow concerned Filipinos from the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines and Anakbayan. ###