In an unfortunate turn of events, DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople, a strong advocate for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), has passed away. The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirmed the news on Tuesday, August 22. The 61-year-old Secretary was surrounded by her family at the time of her passing.
DMW Announces With Deep Regret
In a mournful announcement, the DMW expressed their deep sorrow. The statement read, “It is with great sadness that the Department of Migrant Workers announces the passing of our dearest Secretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople.”
The DMW mentioned that further details would be forthcoming, and the department earnestly requested the public to pray for Secretary Ople and her bereaved family.
A Pioneer in Service
Though she was the second Secretary of the DMW, Ople was the first to lead the department in its fully constituted form in 2023 and had a remarkable career both inside and outside of government service. She held the position of labor undersecretary during President Gloria Arroyo administration.
Beyond her government service, she dedicated herself to the welfare of OFWs. She headed the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Center, a distinguished non-profit organization that provides assistance to OFWs.
Legacy of a Lieage
Ople was born into a family deeply rooted in public service. She is the daughter of Blas Ople, a prominent figure in the Philippines’ political landscape. He held the position of labor secretary under the Ferdinand E. Marcos administration and was also the foreign affairs secretary during the Arroyo administration.
A Period of Sorrow for the Ople Family
The demise of Secretary Ople comes shortly after the loss of two of her brothers, Blas Ople Jr. and Felix “Toti” Ople, both sadly succumbing to lung cancer. The late Secretary herself was a survivor of breast cancer.
Earlier, on July 25, the DMW had announced that Ople was going on a wellness break to grieve for her brothers and spend time with her family. In the DMW’s announcement, Ople had said, “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 country mourns the loss of a public servant whose untiring efforts have touched the lives of many, particularly the Overseas Filipino Workers. She leaves behind a legacy of service that will continue to inspire those who dedicate themselves to the noble cause of public service.