MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Migrant Worker Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople died at the age of 61, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirmed on Tuesday.
“It is with great sadness that the Department of Migrant Workers announces the passing of our dearest Secretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople,” the DMW stated.
The department said that Ople had a peaceful death around 1 p.m. on Tuesday with her family and loved ones beside her.
Ople was the first DMW chief of the department when it was completely created in 2023, despite being the second secretary of the DMW, the newest department in the Philippine government.
President Ferdinand Marcos said he “lost a dear and much-valued friend.” In a Twitter post, President Marcos posted a picture of Ople and captioned her great work and his mourning towards her death.
Ople has experience both inside and outside of the government supporting OFWs. In addition to founding and leading the Blas F. Ople Policy Policy and Training Center, a voluntary group aiding OFWs, she served as labor undersecretary under the Gloria Arroyo administration.
Ople’s death came after her two elder brothers’ deaths. Following the deaths of her two older brothers, former Hagonoy, Bulacan Mayor Felix “Toti” Ople and former journalist Blas Ople Jr., both of whom passed away from lung cancer, she declared in late July that she would take a two-week wellness leave from work.
In a brief statement from the DMV, they said that secretary Ople’s wake will be held at Chapel 1 of Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City starting on August 23 until August 29.
“The Ople family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations to the Blas F. Ople Policy Center would be greatly appreciated,” the DMV said.
“This way Sec. Toots’ advocacy for migrant workers rights and welfare may continue and flourish. – WhatALife!/Zain