Looking back and moving forward

Pardon me for turning personal with this entry. It’s my way of reviewing the past year and reflecting on the days ahead. In the interest of full disclosure, it will also help my fellow bloggers and readers understand where I’m at as this new year unfolds.

So here goes!

This was just around the same time last year when I resigned from my job as Undersecretary of the Office of the President because I disagreed with the administration’s policy direction on charter change. Thankfully, I had the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a nonprofit organization created in my late father’s memory, to keep me busy.

2006 was a productive year for me. It was the year I became a serious blogger, convenor of One Voice, founder of “Shoes”, mother of a college graduate, launched a new career as a communications consultant and freelance speechwriter, among others. Let’s not forget about my being a grandma to three lovable puppies!

2007 started with a dilemma. Some well-meaning people and a few good friends wanted me to run for the Senate. They tell me that I have a “viable” name and some experience in government <18 years!>. Someone told me that my name is included in UNO’s shortlist. With this advice, comes the friendly caveat – if you don’t run now, the name will not be as prominent in people’s memories down the road. That caveat I accept. But have decided to live with.

This “viable” name was passed on to me and my other siblings by a father who worked a lifetime in government, sacrificing time and the needs of his family in the process, to serve the country until his very last day on earth. He was the architect of overseas employment and the Philippine Labor Code. When my name is on the ballot, the voters will more likely think of him, not me. I will love them for it either way, but would that be fair to the three parties in this political equation? The answer is no.

I think it is up to us, the keepers of legacies left by respectable elders, to manage people’s expectations and yearnings of us with gratitude, dignity and respect. The honor attached to a name arises from a treasure chest of difficult decisions, of ethical behavior, of friends and associates that keep the name-owner from meandering into the fields of ignominy. If I do run in any election, I would prefer for people to know that it is me running, and so they can base their decision on what I have done or who I am as a person and as a leader. My personal reflection is not meant to denigrate those in the running who are worthy descendants of noble leaders. I am sure their decisions are based on solid accomplishments and a desire to do good.

The way I see it, I have a lifetime to build my own reservoir of good deeds and personal accomplishments; to maintain a treasure chest of my own to be filled with tough decisions, good behavior, and jewels of friends and associates that pull me in whenever I go too far astray. This conscious effort springs from a basic desire to keep my father’s memory alive by also contributing my own modest coals to stoke this fire. One doesn’t need an honorific title to do that.

With that dilemma over, I look forward to a full and optimistic year ahead. I have consented to be the chief of staff of Senator Mar Roxas ( formerly I was his communications consultant) while he agreed that I maintain my work and pursue civic projects as president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center. Hopefully, this engagement will also bring about a partnership of sorts to help our OFWs and their families as they navigate their way through financial and emotional landmines embedded in a migrant’s life.

I aim to publish next month an anthology of my columns dating back from my stint at the now defunct Philippine Post to the more current Panorama Magazine and Tempo articles.

On my father’s 80th birthday, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center will have its very first commemorative jobs fair which doubles as a fundraising event for our journalism scholars. The jobs fair will be totally free of cost to all job applicants. We are happy to report that we expect a diversified list of employers in need of both skilled and non-skilled workers and professionals. My father would have turned 80 on February 3. The jobs fair will be held on February 2, Friday at Market!Market!. On Feb. 3, we invite family, friends, and those who admired him to join us for a 9 AM mass at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Before I end this entry, let me thank those whose wise counsel I’ve sought during the past weeks and even late last year. You know who you are!

And so life goes on. Tell me, how is your new year turning out?

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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  • rey s.d.

    A noted US Toastmaster Herbert V. Prochnow said: “There is a time when we must firmly choose the course we will follow, or the relentless drift of events will make the decision.” And from Mr. Jim Rohn, America’s foremost business philosopher and the world’s leading motivational speaker and entrepreneur: “It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.”

    I think it was a very though decision but wise and sensible decision and we are here to support you always and forever. – reykl

  • http://ituloy--angsulong.blogspot.com Janette Toral

    Congrats to a great year Toots and exciting times ahead in 2007!

  • http://schumey.blogspot.com Schumey

    Hi Toots,

    Nice to know that chosen the path to take as you move on. I’m sad that you will not be running as I have started campaigning for your candidacy. But each of us has roles to play and difficult decisions to make. Indeed, we all have responsiblitiesto keep our parent’s legacies intact and pure. I’m proud of you as you know your place under the sun.

    As the New Year starts, I feel the emptiness each OFW family goes through. Families will once again be torn apart as our OFWs return to their jobs abroad. I hope this cycle will soon stop. The OFWs of past had toiled to give their children an education, but as economic fate would have it, their children were their replacement. Soon, they too will see their children take the very same road they took.

    I hope this vicious cycle will stop and see the basic unit of society strong and intact. Happy New Year to you my dear friend. And may this New Year more fruitful and stellar for you.

  • http://www.susanople.com toots.ople

    thanks guys! keep the faith. we’ll get there someday. :-)

  • http://politicaljunkie.blogspot.com john marzan

    i was about to ask you sana about your candidacy susan, pero nasagot mo na dito.