Filipino-Canadians recently gathered at the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto to pay tribute to the late Migrant Workers secretary Susan "Toots" Ople.
The erstwhile DMW chief died on Aug. 22 at the age of 61, after her years-long fight with cancer.
'Big loss to PH': Palace pays tribute to Susan Ople
Group representatives shared the impact that Ople made during her time.
"It’s important for a government official to listen to the sentiment of the public and this was one of the qualities of Secretary Toots until the day she died," said Luisito Queano of Malaya Canada
Wilma Delo, meanwhile, said Ople "fought for what migrant workers are fighting for."
Philippine Consul General Angelica Escalona recalled the close interaction she had with Ople.
She expressed hopes that Ople's successor will continue to show genuine care for overseas filipino workers.
"I was very impressed with how down to earth, simple, and caring Secretary Toots was," said Escalona. "It’s really a great loss for the Philippines."
Inspired by Ople's dedicated service, the group leaders formed the Filipino Migrants Advocacy Council of Canada, which seeks to strengthen their advocacy for Filipino migrants.
"The work is far-reaching and wide and it cannot be accomplished by just a few popular organizations," said Terry Olayta of the First Ontario Alliance of Caregivers - Canada.
Olayta added: "The Filipino was born with a big heart so he can make a difference. I think that is what we want to celebrate as we express our thanks to Ms. Susan Ople."
Members of the newly formed group are confident that they will be able to help address the concerns of Filipino migrants in Toronto and in the rest of Canada.