Marilou Ranario, 35, is known to many as a person with a kind heart and a lending hand. But witnesses to her good deeds are saddened that despite her kindness, she seemed to be helpless behind bars and is languishing in death row in a foreign land.
BY AUBREY MAKILAN
Vol. VII, No. 34, September 30-October 6, 2007
Marilou Ranario, 35, is known to many as a person with a kind heart and a lending hand. But witnesses to her good deeds are saddened that despite her kindness, she seemed to be helpless behind bars and languishing in death row in a foreign land.
A caring sis, a loving daughter
Aside from the two youngest siblings who are still studying, Marilou was so far the only one who has finished college.
A graduate of education at the Northeastern Mindanao Colleges (NEMCO) in Surigao del Norte, Marilou’s greatest dream is to be an elementary teacher. But after college in 2002, she worked as a trimmer in a garment factory in Quezon City while processing papers to work in Kuwait. In December 2003, she started working as a domestic helper in Kuwait.
Though already with her own family, Marilou always provides for her siblings’ and parents’ needs. Her younger brother Allan told Bulatlat that she set aside her ambition of becoming an educator in order to help her parents financially and save money for her two children’s future.
Allan, 33, recalled that whenever their parents needed money in their province in Surigao, it was “Manang” (older sister in the Visayan language) who provides for them. He said that one time when he had no work, his sister paid for his sick son’s check up and medication. She also gave him pocket money to be able to look for another job.
A helping hand
Relative or not, Marilou gladly extends a helping hand. This was how Pilar, known as Inday to her friends, described Marilou.
Marilou, whom Inday fondly calls Malou, is a friend to everybody in Brgy. Holy Spirit. Marilou and Inday have been close friends since 1992 especially because Inday’s husband is Marilou’s close cousin. Marilou even made Inday a godmother of her eldest, Raffy John.
Inday will never forget how Marilou has been on her side through thick and thin. When her husband was jailed due to a murder charge, Marilou accompanied her in attending to the nitty gritty of her husband’s case. She said Marilou even helped in their financial needs during her husband’s detention until he was released and was able to look for work.
Marilou also volunteered to accompany people from their province who are seeking employment abroad but are not familiar with the requirements in applying and processing of documents, Inday said.
Inday also recalled their conversations about her friend’s plans. She said Marilou sacrificed her heart’s first love, teaching, for her loved ones. “’Pag dito titser, konti lang ang sahod, di daw sapat,” (If you are a teacher here, your salary is very low, it is not enough.) said Inday recalling what Marilou said..
Before flying to Kuwait, Marilou was then short of money. For her despedida (going away activity), Inday recalled with a smile that Marilou pulled her to a corner to discreetly share the two bottles of softdrinks she could afford at that time.
All these memories made Inday cry upon learning that Marilou was in trouble in 2005. Before that, she feared for her friend’s life when her exchanges of letters with Marilou revealed she was being beaten up by her employer, not being fed right, and not having enough sleep.