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Migrants Workers secretary Ople dies, 61

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MANILA, Philippines — Migrants Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople died Tuesday afternoon, her department said.

“It is with great sadness that the Department of Migrants Workers announces the passing of our dearest Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople,” the advisory reads.

“Secretary Toots peacefully joined our Creator at around 1 PM today, August 22, 2023, surrounded by her family and loved one,” it continued.

Secretary Ople, 61, was born on February 9, 1962, was the first full-pledged secretary of the DMW following Ad interim secretary Abdullah Mama-o. 

Ope also served as undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment from 2004 to 2009 under then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

An advocate of labor and LGBT rights, she run for senator in 2016 but even though she missed a seat in the Senate, she continued with her advocacies.

The DMW statement did not say the cause of her death, but Ople had been battling breast cancer.

Following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2023, she took medical leave until her untimely demise Tuesday afternoon.|-Joenald Medina Rayos

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