MARAMAG BUKIDNON – Susan “Toots” Ople, the youngest child of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople, was recently interviewed live via phone patch over at Radyo Natin Maramag. And according to many listeners in Maramag, Bukidnon as well as in neighboring areas, the young and dynamic Ople sounded very smart, eloquent and knowledgeable, especially on issues related to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
Which isn’t surprising since Susan Ople now heads the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, which is responsible for many advocacies, policies and programs for OFWs including the “Paalis Ka Na Pala” guide for first time overseas workers.
Now if Toots Ople’s interview over at the said Maramag radio station was her way to “touch base” with the people of Bukidnon and to “introduce” her plans of running for the Senate in next year’s elections…well, THAT we really can’t be sure of JUST YET. One thing’s for sure, though…Susan “Toots” Ople made quite a mark during the interview and it won’t be a surprise if Bukidnon will keep an eye on the young Ople.
Here are more facts about Toots: (courtesy of her nephew Carlo)
* A graduate of UST, A.B. Communication Arts, and the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University where she received the Vernon Award for Excellence in Communications.
* Mommy of Estelle, a 22-year old daughter who is into books and debate, aside from being a political science graduate of De La Salle University.
* Occupational record is a reflection Served as 1) chief of staff, Department of Foreign Affairs; 2) chief of staff, office of Senator Blas F. Ople; and, worked with the International Labor Organization Manila Office on training for women union members on gender issues.
* From writing a column in Manila Times, she now writes a Sunday column in Panorama Magazine and Tempo.
*After her father’s death, she was accepted the position of Undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment. Second, as Undersecretary of the now defunct Office of Communications Director, handling presidential speechwriting chores. Third, as Undersecretary of the Office of Executive Secretary, Office of the President. She now heads the Blas F. Ople Policy Center.
*The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute is now involved in four major initiatives:
1. Scholarship program for children of poor, working journalists in coordination with Samahang Plaridel.
2. “Shoes” – a nonprofit activity that delivers new shoes for school children who never owned a pair in their life due to poverty.
3. Short courses on diplomacy, writing, and Philippine history for students, housewives, and government employees. (i.e. History for Grown-ups with Ambeth Ocampo, On Writing Well with National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, Foreign Affairs on Saturdays with the help of resource persons from the DFA)
4. Advocacy against unlawful Charter change
* Publications such as, “Paalis Ka Na Pala” which is a guide for first-time OFWs, “Hugs, Not Drugs” a manual on drug abuse prevention and “As We Remember Him”, an anthology of essays in remembrance of the late Secretary Blas F. Ople.
* Together with Senator Ernesto “Boy” Herrera, Susan was also one of the founders of the Citizens’ DrugWatch Foundation.