MANILA, Philippines — A devastating wave of grief has swept over the nation as we mourn the passing of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople. Known widely as a relentless advocate for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) officially confirmed her demise on Tuesday, August 22, 2023.
The Unfortunate Announcement
There was an air of profound sadness as the DMW announced, “We deeply regret to notify the nation about the demise of our beloved Secretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople.” It’s a lamentable loss for the department and the entire nation alike.
According to the DMW, Ople breathed her last around 1 pm on the fateful Tuesday, in the company of her family and close ones. At the age of 61, she left behind a legacy of relentless dedication and service.
A Look at Her Legacy
Although Ople was the second secretary to helm the DMW, she was the inaugural chief of the department in its fully operational form starting from 2023. Her tireless service for the OFWs spanned both governmental and non-governmental arenas. She wore the hat of Labor Undersecretary during the Gloria Arroyo administration, leaving a trail of impactful policy decisions.
Beyond her governmental service, Ople also founded and spearheaded the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Center. This non-governmental organization has been instrumental in providing assistance to OFWs, acting as a testament to her enduring dedication.
Family Ties to Public Service
Ople’s commitment to public service was perhaps inspired by her lineage. She is the offspring of Blas Ople, a prominent figure in Philippine politics who served as the Labor Secretary during the reign of Ferdinand E. Marcos. He later took up the mantle as the Foreign Affairs Secretary during the Arroyo administration.
Personal Life and Recent Tragedies
Ople’s departure follows closely on the heels of the recent passing of her two brothers, Blas Ople Jr. and Felix “Toti” Ople, both victims of lung cancer. On a personal front, Susan Ople had waged a victorious battle against breast cancer, showing her resilience in the face of adversity.
Back on July 25, the DMW had shared that Ople would be taking a wellness break to process her grief and spend time with her family. This announcement came after Ople had publicly expressed her sorrow over the loss of her brothers. She expressed, “Our family lost two good men within a span of five days. They are now in a much better place, free from pain and reunited with our beloved parents and brother, Raul.”
The DMW has promised to release further details in due course, and in the meantime, the department has issued a plea for prayers for Ople and her bereaved family.
Video: INQ Report about Death of DMW Secretary
Check out this news report about this recent incident about the DMW Secretary. President BBM has mentioned that the death has been a tragic loss for all of us:
Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople’s legacy is a testament to her dedication and fervor in advocating for OFW rights. As the nation mourns this irreplaceable loss, we remember her enduring spirit and commend her for her untiring service to the nation. We extend our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones during this tough time.