Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Maria Susasa “Toots Ople”. Photo from Carlo Ople Facebook account

CITY OF MALOLOS—Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Maria Susana “Toots” Ople died of breast cancer on Tuesday.  She is 61.

Her elder sister Hagonoy Councilor Atty. Dalisay Ople-San Jose said that the secretary died at around 1pm at St. Luke’s Hospital in Metro Manila.  

Ople has earlier survived from breast cancer but this has recurred recently, San Jose said. San Jose said her sister died of stage 4 cancer.  

Ople and her whole family is still in so much pain and agony after she lost her two brothers to cancer, Blas V. Ople Jr and former Hagonoy Mayor and Board Member Felix “Toti” V.  Ople on July 13 and 18 respectively.

The secretary is the youngest of the seven children of the late Senator and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ope. The eldest sibling, former Board Member Raul Ople had died of ailment years ago.

On her social media account on July 19, the secretary posted, “two brothers, in a span of five days, lost to cancer. No more pain”.

Last Aug. 3, she posted a picture of her Kuya Toti greeting him on his birthday that day.

The Secretary established the non-government organization “Ople Policy Center” that helps the government take care of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) despite her ailment and while undergoing treatment.

Her father, who was the former Labor Secretary during the time of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos is also known as the Father of the OFW and was the man behind the Philippine Labor Code.

The DMW Secretary also used to run and manage her own local community newspaper in Bulacan, the “Malolos Times”.