Bulacan officials remember and honor Ka Blas on his 97th birth anniversary

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CITY OF MALOLOS – Governor Daniel R. Fernando and Vice Gov. Alexis C. Castro led Bulacan officials and residents in the 97th commemoration  of the birth anniversary of the late former DFA and Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople at Bulacan Capitol grounds on Saturday.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Eduardo Jose A. De Vega who represented as guest of honor and speaker DFA Secretary Enrique A. Manalo said that the agency’s leaders are continuously emulating the exemplary leadership and services of “Ka Blas” during his stint as the DFA secretary from July 16, 2002 to December 14, 2003.

Ople died at the age of 76 on December 14, 2003 as DFA Secretary.

The bust of Ka Blas in front of the Gat Blas F. Ople Building: Sentro ng Kabataan, Kaalaman, at Hanapbuhay, Antonio S. Bautista, Bulacan Provincial Capitol Compound. Contributed photo

“Under the leadership of our current Secretary Enrique A. Manalo, we continuously bear in our hearts the ideals and wisdom set by Gat Blas F. Ople. In his more than one year as head of the agency, he had contributed great achievements as Foreign Affairs Secretary. First among them was protecting the rights of the Overseas Filipino Workers. Until today, it is one of our Top 3 international policies which also include national security and economic diplomacy,” De Vega said.

He added that Ople played a big role in the passage of Republic Act for overseas absentee voting and dual citizenship.

“Tunay na maituturing siyang huwarang anak ng Bulacan na naging respetadong lider hindi lamang sa ating bansa kundi sa mundo ng diplomasya”, (He is really someone who can be called as as an exemplary son of Bulacan because of bei9ing a respected statesman not only in our country but in the whole spectrum of diplomacy), the DFA undersecretary said.

Fernando and Castro both urged Bulakenyos to walk with the same ideals and spirit of Ka Blas as they were joined by De Vega in a wreath-laying before the bust of Ople and the Gat Blas F. Ople Building: Sentro ng Kabataan, Kaalaman, at Hanapbuhay, Antonio S. Bautista, Bulacan at the Capitol grounds.

Ople was also the “Father of the Labor Code” and the “Father of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). In May 1985, he was appointed by president Corazon Aquino as a member of the opposition to serve in the Constitutional Commission of 1986. In 1992, he was elected senator and became senate president before he ended his term in 2000.

Fernando encouraged every Bulakenyo leader and residents to emulate the kind of nationalism through leadership and services to the Filipino people the late statesman rendered all throughout his life.

“While we are facing the challenges in our times, we should let the great services to the Filipino nation and our people be our guiding light and spirit including his advocacy in protecting the welfare of our workers here and abroad and his love for all the Filipino people,” the governor said.

He emphasized that Ka Blas’s excellence in public service is an honor that his children are continually embracing and pursuing.

“I just want to emphasize that the kind of at par leadership and services Ople had given is a pride and dignity of a Bulakenyo that his children had continued,” the governor also said.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the whole province of Bulacan mourned the death of Ople’s youngest daughter, then DMW Secretary Susan Ople died of ailment August 22 last year. She was appointed DMW secretary by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In July last year, a month before she passed away, Ople mourned the death of her two brothers, former Hagonoy Mayor and First District Board Member Felix Ople and Blas Ople Jr., who also died because of ailments.

Councilor Therese Cheryll Ople, Hagonoy Councilor Dalisay Ople-San Jose, Board Members Romina Fermin and Casey E. Howard, and Provincial Government of Bulacan department heads and employees headed by Provincial Administrator Antonette V. Constantino also lead the commemoration ceremony.

February 3, 2024 was declared a Special Working Holiday in the Province of Bulacan.

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