Villar lauds Ople for trafficking in persons hero award from United States

SENATOR-elect Cynthia Villar lauded Maria Susana "Toots" Ople who was conferred by the United States government the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Hero Award for 2013 for her relentless efforts to curb human trafficking.

“She truly deserves the award,” said Villar who congratulated Ople for her international recognition.

She noted that our countrymen especially those who have family members working abroad are fortunate to have Ople around.

“I’m sure her father, the late Senate President Blas Ople who once served as labor and foreign affairs secretary, is smiling where he is right now,” said Villar.

Villar considers herself equally lucky for having Ople, who heads the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, as partner of the Villar Foundation in helping Filipino migrant workers.

The Center is an organization that advocates labor and migration issues, particularly in fighting human trafficking.

On the other hand, the Villar Foundation, in which Villar sits as managing director, has been addressing the welfare of OFWs for years.

The Villar Foundation has a “Skills Up Training” program partnered with the Ople Center to upgrade the skills of rescued and repatriated trafficked victims from domestic work to hotel housekeeping and commercial cooking.

The “Skills Up Training” program, Villar said, helps OFW returnees to have new career in life after failing in their employment in a foreign land.

Villar is likewise thankful to have Ople for their partnership in this advocacy to ensure that OFWs who opted to return home would have a means to earn.

Ople received the award from US Secretary of State John Kerry in a ceremony at the US State Department in Washington D.C. last June 19.

She was chosen from among different nominees endorsed by various embassies and consulates throughout the world.

US Ambassador Harry Thomas and the US Embassy in Manila have nominated Ople to be among the 2013 TIP Hero Award recipients.

Ople, who was a former labor undersecretary and Chief of Staff of her father during his stint as Foreign Affairs Secretary, said the award is the best Father’s Day gift she could give to her dad.

She also thanked Thomas and the US embassy for their nominations and her fellow advocates in government, civil society, and the media, for their support.

Thomas congratulated Ople and referred to her as “nanay” (mother) in the truest spirit of the word for her strong advocacy for the welfare of OFWs.

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  1. toots, kapag ba may sinecensor sa tv sa word napapalingon ka ba kasi akala mo tinatawag ka? hahaha