- OFW advocate and former DOLE Undersecretary Susan “Toots” Ople will run for the Senate
- She is the daughter of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary and Sen. Blas Ople
- She hopes to succeed under what she calls the first OFW-driven national campaign
Migrant workers’ advocate and former Undersecretary for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Susan Ople has filed her certificate of candidacy (CoC) as Senator under the Nacionalista Party (NP).
This will be the second time for Ople, who is the youngest daughter of former Senator Blas Ople, to seek a Senate seat. She also ran under the Nacionalistas in 2010 but lost.
She was accompanied by family members and individuals from various migrant workers groups; highlighting her work as an advocate for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS).
Ople, who also ran the Blas F. Ople Policy Center which assists OFWs, hopes that what she expects to be the first OFW-driven national campaign will be successful.
“We aim to show the power of the OFW vote in 2016. Though they stay quite far away, our overseas workers are now directly in touch with their families through social media. I am confident that they would harness their convincing power to ensure that the right people make it through a popular vote,” Ople told InterAksyon.
Ople touts her long experience working with OFW families, including her stint as Chief of Staff to her father when he served as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as well as in the Senate, as her key qualifications to become a Senator herself.
She plans to pass laws that would help advance the welfare of OFWs while at the same time highlighting key issues that affect them today. She cites the collection of airport terminal fees from OFWs despite a law granting them an exemption, the outdated laws and unethical practices that lead to unscrupulous opening of Balikbayan boxes, and the fight against human trafficking and illegal recruitment, as migrant workers’ concerns that should be brought back to the national agenda.
“I would also like to craft laws that would create a more inclusive and safer workplace for all, such as a law against age discrimination in the hiring process, and a review of our occupational health and safety code,” she said.
While she will be running under the NP, Ople says her party has yet to decide whom to support as President.