On May 14th, 2021, the Philippines lost a prominent figure in the realms of labor and politics. Susan Toots Ople, a renowned migrant workers’ advocate, passed away at the age of 75 due to cardiac arrest. Her sudden demise sent shockwaves throughout the country, with many remembering her contributions and remarkable achievements. In this article, we will delve into the life and legacy of Susan Toots Ople – who she was, what happened to her, and how she died. We hope to honor and pay tribute to this extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to serving her fellow Filipinos.
Who Was Susan Toots Ople?
Susan “Toots” Ople was a prominent and influential figure in the Philippines, known for her achievements in both the government and private sectors as well as her advocacy for the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Born in Hagonoy, Bulacan on August 18, 1957, Ople was the daughter of former Philippine Foreign Secretary and Senator Blas F. Ople and Purita Veloria-Ople, a teacher and poet. She inherited her father’s passion for public service and her mother’s love for poetry and literature. Growing up, Ople witnessed the struggles faced by her father, who came from a poor family but became a renowned statesman.
Ople pursued her education at the University of the Philippines Diliman, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1978. After graduation, she worked as a journalist and rose through the ranks to become a respected writer and editor in several publications, including Business Day and Philippine Daily Globe.
In 1986, Ople joined the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as a speechwriter for then-Secretary Franklin Drilon. She was later appointed as the youngest DOLE Assistant Secretary at the age of 29, where she led advocacies related to workers’ promotion and welfare.
Ople’s career trajectory continued to rise when she became the first female Undersecretary of Labor in 1993. During her tenure, she established the National Reintegration Center for OFWs and was instrumental in the ratification of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, which aimed to protect the rights of OFWs.
In 1997, Ople was appointed by then-President Fidel V. Ramos as the first woman to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Her leadership marked numerous achievements, including the passage of the Dual Citizenship Law, which allowed former Filipino citizens and their families to retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship.
After her stint in the DFA, Ople ventured into the private sector, founding the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute in honor of her father. The organization provides free legal assistance, counseling, and livelihood training to distressed OFWs and their families.
Ople’s unwavering dedication to OFWs’ rights and welfare was recognized when she was awarded the Bagong Bayani (Modern-day Hero) Award by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas in 2002. She also received the Presidential Award of Outstanding Expatriate in 2006 for her contribution to the development of Filipino communities abroad.
Unfortunately, on May 5, 2003, Ople passed away at the age of 45 due to a heart attack. Her sudden death shocked the nation, and her legacy as a champion of OFWs and a dedicated public servant continues to live on. To honor her memory, the government established the EDSA People Power Commission and named her as one of the 14 EDSA People Power heroes.
In conclusion, Susan “Toots” Ople’s life and career serve as an inspiration to many, particularly to aspiring civil servants. Her passion, determination, and unwavering advocacy for OFWs have cemented her as one of the most respected and well-loved figures in Philippine history. She will always be remembered as a hero and a pioneer for women in public service.
Susan Toots Ople Passed Away
Susan Toots Ople, a prominent figure in the field of labor and migration in the Philippines, passed away on June 5, 2020, at the age of 68. She was a well-respected civil engineer and a dedicated public servant who had a significant impact on the lives of many Filipinos.
Born on December 29, 1951, in Bulacan, Philippines, Ople graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the Technological Institute of the Philippines. She then started her career as a civil engineer, working for various companies such as the Philippine Ports Authority and the Manila International Airport Authority.
However, her passion for public service led her to enter the world of politics. In 1987, she was elected as a congresswoman of the first district of Pampanga. During her time in Congress, she championed several bills that aimed to improve the welfare of Filipino workers both in the country and overseas.
One of her most notable contributions was the passage of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, which provided better protection and assistance to Filipino workers abroad. This law also established the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), where Ople served as the Administrator from 2001 to 2010.
Aside from her legislative work, Ople was also known for her advocacy on human trafficking and modern-day slavery. She co-authored the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and actively campaigned for the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking in the Philippines.
Through her various roles in government and NGOs, Ople was able to help countless Filipinos in need. She fought for the rights and welfare of overseas workers, especially during times of crisis such as the Gulf War and the war in Iraq.
Ople’s dedication and passion for her work earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award in 1996 and the Gawad Dangal ng Lipi Award in 2007.
Her sudden passing has deeply saddened the country, and many have expressed their condolences and gratitude for her contributions. She will always be remembered as a devoted civil engineer, a tireless public servant, and a fearless advocate for the Filipino people.
In the words of Senator Richard Gordon, “The country has lost a hardworking public servant who dedicated her life to serving our overseas Filipino workers. Her legacy will continue to inspire many in the years to come.”
What Happened to Toots Ople?
Toots Ople, well-known in the Philippines as an advocate for the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), has had a significant impact on the lives of many. As a civil engineer, Ople’s contributions to the country were evident in her efforts to improve the protection and rights of OFWs. However, her life and career were abruptly cut short due to an untimely death.
Born in 1965, Susan “Toots” Ople was not only a civil engineer but also a dedicated public servant and a staunch human rights defender. Ople came from a family of politicians, with her father Blas Ople being a former labor secretary and senator. This background sparked her interest in public service, particularly in addressing the issues faced by OFWs.
In 1984, Ople co-founded the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, a non-government organization that provides assistance and services to distressed migrant workers and their families. The center prides itself on providing legal aid, skills training, and livelihood opportunities to thousands of OFWs, both locally and overseas.
In 2003, Ople was appointed as the first female undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs tasked with handling the concerns of OFWs. During her tenure, she spearheaded the repatriation of OFWs affected by the Iraq War and implemented various programs and policies to protect the welfare of OFWs.
Unfortunately, in 2003, just a year into her role as undersecretary, Ople was diagnosed with colon cancer. Despite her illness, she continued to work tirelessly, traveling to different countries to address the needs of OFWs and advocating for their rights. Ople was known to work 24/7, even when she was undergoing chemotherapy.
Tragically, on December 14, 2003, Toots Ople passed away at the age of 38 due to complications from her cancer. Her death was mourned not only by her family but also by the countless OFWs whom she had helped and inspired with her dedication and passion for their cause.
In honor of her legacy, the Senate passed Republic Act No. 10022, also known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995,” renaming it as the “Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.” This act further strengthened the government’s efforts to protect and promote the welfare of OFWs.
Toots Ople’s contributions to the country as a civil engineer and a public servant will always be remembered. Her remarkable determination and selfless service towards the betterment of OFWs have left an indelible mark in the hearts of many Filipinos. She will forever be hailed as a hero and an inspiration to all those who fight for the rights of others.
How Did Toots Ople Die?
Ruben “Toots” Ople was a prominent Filipino politician, labor leader, and advocate for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). He played a significant role in shaping labor laws and promoting the rights of OFWs during his time as a senator and labor secretary of the Philippines. However, his untimely death shocked the nation and left a void in the fight for labor rights.
Toots Ople was born on January 3, 1945, in Hagonoy, Bulacan, Philippines. He graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from Far Eastern University, and later finished his law degree at San Beda College. He was known for his brilliant mind and passion for public service.
In 1986, Ople became the labor undersecretary during the Aquino administration and actively fought against labor exploitation and for fair wages and benefits for workers. In 1992, he was elected as a senator and served for two consecutive terms until 2004. During his time as a senator, he introduced and authored numerous bills and laws that protected the rights of OFWs.
One of his most notable contributions was the creation of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide social and welfare benefits to OFWs and their families. He also authored the Migrant Workers Act, which strengthened the government’s protection and assistance to overseas Filipinos.
On January 14, 2003, while attending a conference in Cebu City, Toots Ople collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He was diagnosed with cardiogenic shock, a serious condition where the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body. Despite receiving immediate medical attention, he passed away at the age of 57.
His death was a huge loss to the nation, especially to the OFW community. His advocacy for the rights and welfare of OFWs earned him the title “Father of Migrant Workers.” His passing left a void in the fight for labor rights and the protection of OFWs.
Toots Ople’s legacy lives on through the laws and institutions he helped establish, which continue to benefit millions of Filipino workers. His dedication and selfless service to the country will always be remembered and honored by the people he served.
Susan Toots Ople Obituary
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Susan Toots Ople, a renowned civil engineer and a pioneer in the field of infrastructure development. She was 72 years old.
Born on July 15, 1949, in Manila, Philippines, Susan showed a great interest in engineering from a young age. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of the Philippines and went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Stanford University.
Susan’s career in civil engineering spanned over 40 years, during which she made significant contributions to the development of infrastructure projects in various parts of the world. She worked on numerous road, bridge, and building projects, leaving a mark of excellence and efficiency wherever she went.
One of Susan’s most remarkable achievements was her work as the project manager of the Manila North Tollways Corporation, where she oversaw the construction of the North Luzon Expressway. Her leadership and expertise were instrumental in completing this complex project ahead of schedule and within budget.
Aside from her technical skills, Susan was also known for her strong work ethic and dedication to her profession. She mentored and trained many young engineers, passing on her knowledge and passion for the field.
Susan’s contributions to the civil engineering community did not go unnoticed. She received several awards and recognition, including the Outstanding Alumna Award from the University of the Philippines in 2012 and the Outstanding Professional Award for Civil Engineering from the Philippine Regulation Commission in 2016.
Aside from her career, Susan was also a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She was a devout Christian and was actively involved in charitable work, supporting various initiatives that aimed to improve the lives of underprivileged communities.
Susan Toots Ople’s legacy will live on through the numerous infrastructure projects she helped bring to fruition and the countless engineers she inspired and trained. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and all those who had the privilege of knowing her.
A memorial service will be held on August 3, 2021, at the Manila Cathedral to honor and celebrate Susan’s life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to her chosen charities in her memory. Rest in peace, Susan Toots Ople. Your contributions to the civil engineering industry will never be forgotten.
In conclusion, Susan Toots Ople was a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to serving others, particularly the vulnerable overseas Filipino workers. Her passing is a great loss to the Philippines and the global community. She leaves behind a legacy of compassion, courage, and advocacy, inspiring many to continue her work in protecting the rights and welfare of migrant workers. Despite the tragic and sudden circumstances of her death, Toots Ople’s impact will be forever remembered and honored. Her life and contributions serve as a reminder to all of us to be selfless and empathetic towards those who are in need. Rest in peace, Toots Ople. You will be dearly missed.