The name Ople will forever be identified with the late, great Ka Blas Ople, former labor minister, foreign affairs secretary, senator, Senate president, writer, journalist, and nationalist.
The late Ka Blas was indeed an iconoclast. Although he never completed high school, he was one of the last true intellectual titans of the Philippine Senate, blessed with a sharp mind that made him a peer of the topnotch lawyers in the Upper House.
Today, another Ople is blazing a trail that would have made Ka Blas shed a tear or two of joy.
Susan Ople was recently cited by no less than US Secretary of State John Kerry as a modern-day hero.
The youngest daughter of Ka Blas received this week the 2013 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award from Kerry. The award was given Ms. Ople “in recognition of her outspoken advocacy on behalf of the millions of overseas Filipino workers, and her continuing work to provide labor trafficking victims with legal and reintegration assistance that empowers workers and prevents further exploitation in the Philippines.”
It has been through Ms. Ople’s efforts that the country has been recognized as exerting significant efforts to combat human trafficking.
In the 2010 elections, Susan Ople ran for a Senate seat. Unfortunately, she did not make it.
Now it can be said that the Senate’s loss is the people’s gain, especially the millions of overseas Filipino workers. A former Labor undersecretary during the Arroyo era, Ms. Ople now dedicates her life as an advocate of OFWs’ rights and doing everything possible to end the global scourge that is human trafficking.
She dedicated the award to her father, who passed away 10 years ago.
Were he alive today, Ka Blas would have been proud of his daughter who has followed in his footsteps, even as she has blazed her own trails in service of her countrymen. And it is not just Ka Blas who would have been a beaming father of an accomplished daughter.
The young Ms. Ople does the entire nation proud.