By [Author’s Name]
London, UK – The world mourns the untimely departure of Maria Susana “Toots” Vasquez Ople, a prominent Filipina politician and a passionate advocate for the rights of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Her remarkable journey, marked by dedication and compassion, has left a profound impact on the welfare of OFWs and the nation as a whole.
Toots Ople’s relentless commitment to the welfare of OFWs propelled her to become the inaugural Secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers, a role she executed with remarkable effectiveness. Her advocacy for labor protection and fair employment practices, access to healthcare, and reintegration programs for returning OFWs has transformed countless lives.
On August 22, 2023, the nation was shaken by the news of Toots Ople’s passing. The cause of her death has been revealed to be breast cancer, a formidable adversary that affects women worldwide. In the Philippines, it is the leading cause of mortality among women aged 35–50.
Toots Ople’s battle with breast cancer serves as a poignant reminder of the health challenges many silently face. Despite her personal struggles, she never wavered in her commitment to her cause. Her journey was marked by resilience and determination, inspiring others to fight against this relentless disease.
The passing of Susan Ople leaves a void in the hearts of Filipinos and the global community. Her legacy, however, will continue to shine as a beacon of hope and change for generations to come. It is imperative that we honor her memory by raising awareness about breast cancer, promoting early detection, and providing support and compassion to those battling this disease.
Toots Ople, born on February 9, 1962, was the youngest of seven children to the esteemed Blas F. Ople and Susana Vasquez. Her dedication to public service was evident from an early age, serving as Chief of Staff to her father, a former Labor Secretary and Senator, and later at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Throughout her career, Toots Ople held various key positions, including Undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, and she ran as a senatorial candidate in the 2010 and 2016 Philippine elections. However, her most enduring legacy was the establishment of the Blas Ople Policy Center (BOPC), an institution dedicated to assisting distressed OFWs worldwide.
Toots Ople’s advocacy extended beyond politics and policy-making. She co-anchored the radio show “Bantay OFW” and hosted “Global Pinoy,” using these platforms to amplify the voices of OFWs and advocate for their rights.
In 2022, she was appointed as the Secretary of the newly-established Department of Migrant Workers, a testament to her unwavering commitment to justice, the rule of law, and the rights of marginalized communities. Her dedication to causes she held dear, such as the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill and the abolition of political dynasties, exemplified her commitment to a just and inclusive Philippines.
While not much is known about her personal life, Toots Ople’s public life was a testament to her enduring love for her country and its people. Her selfless dedication and tireless efforts will be remembered and celebrated for years to come.
As we bid farewell to this remarkable advocate and human being, let us reflect on the profound impact she had on the lives of OFWs and the nation. May we honor her legacy by continuing to fight for the rights and welfare of OFWs, raising awareness about breast cancer, and striving for a more just and inclusive society.
The world has lost a true champion, but Toots Ople’s spirit and legacy will continue to inspire and guide us in the pursuit of a better future..