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Giving Herself Away, in Life and in Death

Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople’s sudden demise leaves the country with a deep sense of loss. She relentlessly devoted herself to Filipino migrant workers and their families, championing their rights and advancing their interests with unparalleled passion and devotion. She was endowed with an eagle-eyed focus on creating comprehensive programs for OFWs, and her vision was to end the cycle where Filipino family members would have no other option but to work abroad. She will be remembered in history as the first Secretary of the recently-created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), and one notable achievement in such capacity had been the swift response and adept efficiency with which she handled the immediate rescue operations and repatriation of OFWs in Sudan.

Hers was such a profound compassion for migrants, that she gave not only her life for them, but her death as well. She must have known when she said “yes” to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr to be at the helm of the DMW, how precarious her condition was, having just gone through remission from cancer. But nothing could stop this emboldened public servant from doing what her heart had set out to do, from the beginning of her career in government service-to walk with migrant workers and their families, no matter what the cost.

As we mourn her passing, let us carry on her legacy as well.


“ We have a duty to show up in the world with meaning and purpose and commitment to doing good.”



“And may your hearts be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands”


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