About

Susan “Toots” Ople is the youngest daughter of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople. She has a Sunday column in Manila Bulletin’s Panorama Magazine and Tempo and two public service radio programs, “Bantay OFW” at DZXL RMN 558 every Monday to Friday, 12.30-2 pm and “Global Pinoy” at DWIZ 882 every Saturday from 5.30-6.30 pm.
Filipino graduates face tough economy

Filipino graduates face tough economy

It is graduation season in the Philippines, and one can’t help but wax nostalgic about youthful indulgences and daydreams about making it to the top. Unlike Saudi nationals whose own government has made it a mission to “nationalize” the workplace, in the Philippines, the jobless compete not only with each...
After the hoopla, the hard work begins

After the hoopla, the hard work begins

There is absolutely no doubt that the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was a historic milestone, not just for the Philippines, but also for Southeast Asia, if not the world. It took 17 years of on-again...
Human helplessness exposed

Human helplessness exposed

It seems something straight out of a mystery movie. A Malaysian airplane bearing 239 passengers that was bound for China never got there, and has yet to be found, more than a week after it disappeared. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak recently called for a press conference where he announced...
Latest entries
Art of ‘errorism’

Art of ‘errorism’

A world-class performer cannot help but wince when someone sings out of tune. Athletes frown at an extra slice of pizza and a chocolate bar that mere mortals devour unburdened by the thought of calorie count and body fat. Writers have their own pet peeves — the dreaded typo errors, letters missing or added, that...
Life in Basilan

Life in Basilan

I read a news story about South Sudan. Warring political factions have resorted to excessive violence, sparing no one even those in the intensive critical unit of a hospital. They shot hospital patients dead and even razed an entire hospital to the ground. It was brutal, the doctors who were on duty, said. Stories such...
Mindanao peace harbinger of new era

Mindanao peace harbinger of new era

I read a news story about South Sudan. Warring political factions have resorted to excessive violence, sparing no one, not even patients in critical condition. They shot hospital patients dead and even razed an entire hospital to the ground. It was brutal, the doctors who were on duty, said. Of course, tensions in Ukraine and...
On why Internet freedom is important

On why Internet freedom is important

When my father was 17, he left our hometown in the coast of Hagonoy, Bulacan to fight as a guerrilla against the Japanese army. During WWII, the Japanese army chose the brightest male students in villages to groom as their assets and successors. My father was among those chosen, but he managed to escape and...
Building synergies for OFWs’ protection

Building synergies for OFWs’ protection

As you read this column, a high-level technical working group led by Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is in Saudi Arabia to discuss the move of the Saudi government to limit the recruitment of foreign workers to only a handful of elite recruitment agencies. The POEA is the sole...
Who says all diplomats are gentlemen?

Who says all diplomats are gentlemen?

IT is assumed that diplomats behave like perfect gentlemen and gentlewomen, using wit and humor to make their guests feel at home, and comporting themselves with grace and dignity at all times. Among peers, that is what most diplomats would appear to be. A true test of a diplomat is when the doors are closed...
On gadgets

On gadgets

One of the most expensive gifts I bought for myself last Christmas was an iPad Air. For someone who shuns jewelry and isn’t into name brands, buying that slim, trendy, and latest gadget was an extreme luxury. In my mind, I justified it as a work-related expenditure. This was difficult to reconcile, however, with my...
Moro leaders must unite for peace

Moro leaders must unite for peace

Do you see a glass half-full or half-empty? For the peace talks in Mindanao, a lot depends on whose table that glass happens to be. If you talk to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government (GPH) is a prescription to war...
The countdown begins for 2016 Philippine vote

The countdown begins for 2016 Philippine vote

Coffee shops are abuzz about 2016, the year when Filipinos will once again choose its next president. Unlike previous administrations, the ruling party of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III (or PNoy as referred to by the people) has yet to visibly and aggressively flex its muscle, organize and revitalize its base, and make a dent...
Healthy debate

Healthy debate

EFFECTIVE January 1, 2014, the monthly PhilHealth contributions of members with the lowest salaries was doubled to P200, with the additional Php100 contribution to be shouldered equally by the worker and his or her employer. In the case of overseas Filipino workers, this adjustment translates into a P2,400 annual contribution compared to last year’s P1,200...
Sagada

Sagada

Over the holidays, I brought my daughter, niece, and nephews to Sagada, Mountain Province. It was a six-hour drive from Manila to Baguio City where we stayed overnight before proceeding to Sagada which took us another six hours by land. The mountain views were breath-taking, and the fog added to the exhilaration that we felt...
Controversy brews over PhilHealth premiums

Controversy brews over PhilHealth premiums

Appeals from various overseas Filipino community groups for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to reconsider its premium adjustments will likely fall on deaf ears now that the Office of the President has publicly declared support for the new rates. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in his weekly media briefing aired over state-run Radyo ng...