Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feb. 3 no work day in Bulacan

President Benigno Aquino III  has declared February 3 as a special non-working holiday in Bulacan to commemorate the 85th birth anniversary of the late statesman and journalist Blas F. Ople.

The President issued Proclamation No. 323 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. on January 25 “to give Bulakenyos the opportunity to remember the noble efforts of the known Father of Overseas Employment and author of the Philippine Labor Code.”

“Ople, who served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Senate President and Secretary of Labor, had devoted decades of his life to selfless, dedicated and sincere service to our country and our people,” said the President.

He had been secretary, then minister of labor and employment during the Marcos administration when he led in the overhauling of Philippine labor laws through the enactment of the Labor Code of the Philippines which is now considered his most valuable contribution.

Ople was born in Hagonoy, Bulacan on February 3, 1927 to Felix Antonio Ople, a craftsman who repaired boats, and his wife Segundina Fajardo.

A teenage revolutionary joining the guerilla movement during World War II, Ople held several high-ranking positions in the executive and legislative branches of the Philippine government, including as Senate President from 1999 to 2000, and as Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 2002 until his death.

As a writer, he authored the following books: Frontier of Social Policy, Workers, Managers, Elites, The Human Spectrum of Development, The Freedom to Achieve, Global but Parochial, the Philippines and the World, and Windows to a Changing World. Ople also wrote columns for various newspapers.

“Ka Blas” died on December 14, 2003 while en route to Bahrain on diplomatic mission as the country’s emissary. He had been known as a heavy smoker.

His youngest daughter Susan “Toots” Ople ran for senator in the May 2010 elections under the Nacionalista Party, but lost.

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