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DMW Sec. Toots Ople passes away at 61

MANILA – Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople died Tuesday at the age of 61.

“Secretary Toots peacefully joined our Creator at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 22) surrounded by her family and loved ones,” DMW spokesperson Toby Nebrida said in a statement.

“We shall be releasing more details soon. For the meantime, we ask for prayers for the eternal repose of the soul of our dear Sec. Toots. We ask as well for prayers for the Ople family,” he added.

Last July 25, DMW announced that Ople is taking a two-week wellness leave following the consecutive passing of her older brothers, former Hagonoy, Bulacan Mayor Felix “Toti” Ople and former journalist Blas F. Ople Jr., both due to lung cancer.

Ople said she needed time to grieve, be with her family, as well as look after her own wellness.

In February 2020, she underwent surgery for Stage 2 breast cancer.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. appointed Ople to head the newest department of the government at the start of his administration.

A staunch advocate of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) rights, Ople founded the Blas Ople Policy Center (BOPC), named after his father, which assists distressed OFWs in various parts of the world.

The elder Ople served as Labor chief during the administration of Marcos Sr.

Lawmakers cite Ople’s contribution to protect OFWs

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez likewise mourned Ople’s death, saying migrant workers have lost a great champion with her passing.

“Migrant workers, and workers in general, have just lost a great and tireless champion in Secretary Ople. She was the first secretary of the department Congress had created to focus on attending to the welfare of millions of overseas Filipino workers,” he said in a statement.

Source: PNA

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