CITY OF MALOLOS – Late Secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Susana “Toots” Ople was bestowed the Bulacan’s 2023 Natatanging Dangal ng Lipi award, the highest recognition given by the Bulacan Provincial Government to the province highly deserving sons and daughters, during this year’s Gawad Dangal ng Lipi held at the Hiyas Pavilion in Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center, Provincial Capitol Compound on Wednesday.

The award was received by her daughter Estelle O. Osorio in recognition for her mother’s legacy of compassionate service and unwavering support that she willingly provided throughout her lifetime.

During Osorio’s message, she expressed her family’s gratitude to the Provincial Government of Bulacan’s recognition for her late mother.

“Sobrang laking karangalan po para sa aming pamilya ang parangal na ito. Sana she was here to witness this and receive the award herself. Siyempre, gustuhin sana natin na nalaman niya habang buhay siya na pinaparangalan siya nang ganito pero pakiramdam ko, masaya ‘yung kaluluwa niya in heaven dahil napakalaking karangalan na mapili sa lahat ng nabigyan ng award at siya ‘yung napili,” Osorio said.

Ople’s late father, former Senator and Foreign Affairs and Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople, who was also known as the Father of the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and the Labor Laws of the Philippines has also been hailed as a Dangal ng Lipi Awardee during his time.

He died in December 2004. The young Ople established the “Ople Police and Training Center” in 2005 in his honor to continue helping and pursuing the plight of the migrant workers.    

The young Ople then became a labor undersecretary during the term of former President Gloria Arroyo. Later, she continued to attend to the needs of OFWs in her private capacity until she was appointed last year by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the head of the newly created Department of Migrant Workers.

Other awardees include Dr. Hermogenes M. Paguia of San Ildefonso, (Agriculture); Dr. Maria Natalia R. Dimaano of Obando (Science and Technology); Dr. Marwin M. dela Cruz of Calumpit and Dr. Jaime P. Pulumbarit of Malolos (Education); Dr. Benigno C. Valdez of San Ildefonso (Bulakenyo Expatriate); Dr. Bernardita C. Navarro of Pulilan (Health); Angelica “Angie” C. Ferro of San Jose Del Monte (Arts and Culture); Tristaniel D. Las Marias of Baliwag (Trade and Industry); Ronnie M. Mendoza of Marilao (Entrepreneur); Fr. Domingo M. Salonga of Bulakan (Community Service); Judge Maria Bernardita J. Santos of Baliwag (Professional); Yuka Saso of San Ildefonso (Sports) and Justice Lorifel L. Pahimna of Hagonoy (Public Service).

Meanwhile, Vice Gov. Alexis C. Castro recognized the hard work and dedication of this year’s Dangal ng Lipi awardees.

“Sa gabing ito ay bibigyan natin ng saysay ang mga tagumpay ng ating mga paparangalan, tagumpay na kanilang natamo na ang tanging puhunan ay pawis, sakripisyo, misyon, pangarap at dedikasyon upang maiangat hindi lamang ang kanilang sarili kundi ang kapakanan ng kanilang kapwa Bulakenyo,” Castro said.