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Toronto community leaders pay tribute to DMW secretary Ople

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Toronto community leaders pay tribute to DMW secretary Ople
The recently appointed Consul General in Toronto delivered a speech to the audience during a solemn commemoration event honouring the late Secretary Susan Toots Ople of the Department of Migrant Workers

Several leaders from the migrant community gathered at the Philippine Consulate in Toronto on September 6 for a short but moving ceremony to honour the late Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Angelica Escalona, who had just been named Consul General, led the event.

Consul Escalona remembered being impressed by the late secretary’s intelligence and demeanour when she had the chance to work with Ople in Indonesia.

Esacalona gave the late secretary a brief but heartfelt tribute in which she said, “Napakasimple.at madaling lapitan,” Escalona said in her prepared statement, which at times was spontaneous. Escalona said that the death of secretary Ople is a significant loss to the community of Filipino migrants worldwide.

On August 22, 2023, Ople received a breast cancer diagnosis and passed away as a result of medical complications. Ople was 61.

Tony San Juan, Terry Olayta, Flor Dandal, and Willie Reodica were among the other community leaders who took turns speaking. Chris Sorio, Secretary General of Migrante Canada, read the tribute statement for the late DMW secretary from Migrante International.

According to a statement from Migrante International, secretary Toots Ople has a long history and a reputable record of NGO work and advocacy for the migrant workers and all migrant Filipinos.

Chris Sorio, Sec General of Migrante Canada, read a statement from Migrante International about DMW
secretary Susan Toots Ople. The statement said, “Whoever replaces Ople will have big shoes to fill.” (Photo by LVQ)

The statement read, “While we have criticisms of her tenure as DMW secretary, she did not cut off communications with Migrante-International.”

A brief biography of the late secretary was presented, along with a heartfelt video.

Unexpected developments following the tribute resulted in the founding of the Filipino Migrants Advocacy Council of Canada (FMACC), a significant and original development. The group, which included a variety of advocacy organizations like Malaya Canada in Toronto, Kababayan Cultural Centre, Migrante Ontario, PTAC, Outstanding Filipino Canadians Association, and others, quickly set up its first independent coordinating body.

Group photo with Angelica Escalona, consul general of the Philippines Consulate in Toronto(third from left).
Photo by LVQ.

Terry Olayta was ppointed chair while Rizza Solis as Vice Chair while Lui Queano, Merfa Yap Bataclan and Lenny Simbre were named members of this body. Tony San Juan, Chris Sorio, Flor Dandal, and Maria Guiao were selected to serve as advisers.

Filipino Migrants Advocacy Council of Canada (FMACC) (Photo by LVQ)

In order to address the difficulties faced by migrants in Canada, the group hopes to continue its dialogue with the Philippine government and create ensuing policies and resolutions. To discuss a variety of issues and difficulties faced by migrants, particularly those living in Toronto, the group will meet with Angelica Escalona, the Philippine consul general, on September 12.###