MAIN PHOTO: Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III (3rd from right) with Governor Daniel Fernando (3rd from left); with Susana Ople (2nd from right), Toti Ople (2nd from left), Jong Ople (extreme left) and Vice Gov. Willy Alvarado (extreme right) at the inauguration of the newly constructed three-storey Provincial Public Employment Service Office (PPESO) building during the commemoration of Gat Blas F. Ople’s 94th birth anniversary. Photo by ELOI SAMONTE)
The Provincial Government of Bulacan remembered the 94th birth anniversary of Gat Blas F. Ople as local government officials here headed by Governor Daniel Fernando rekindled the heroic deeds of the “Father of Overseas Employment” known to many as “Ka Blas.”
The commemoration of Gat Blas F. Ople’s birth anniversary was graced by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and was held at the provincial capitol compound in Barangay Guinhawa, City of Malolos this morning.
Bello and Fernando, together with Vice Governor Willy Sy-Alvarado and members of the Ople family, led the wreath laying ceremony in front of Gat Blas F. Ople’s Sentro ng Kabataan, Kaalaman at Hanapbuhay Building.
The celebration, with the theme “Gat Blas F. Ople: Huwaran ng Kabataan, Ama ng Kabuhayan at Kaalaman,” coincided with the inauguration of the newly constructed three-storey building of the Provincial Public Employment Service Office (PPESO) headed by Atty. Keneth Lantin.
Bello said Ople is one of the proud sons of the province of Bulacan and the father of the Philippine Labor Code, where he named the late senator as one of the greatest Filipinos of all time and if Ople was still alive, he would have done more for the country.
For his part, the governor expressed his admiration of Ople during the commemoration, saying that “Gat Blas F. Ople is Bulacan’s gift to the nation and to the world. Isang Bulakenyong lumikha ng isang pangalan sa mundo ng pulitka na hindi mapapantayan sa panahon ngayon.”
According to Fernando, Ople’s is the first Bulakenyo hero of modern times who was personally recognized, socialized and even worked with as public servant and the one who changed the meaning of being a politician and was never been greedy for power.
“He was the only political servant of almost everyone who became president of the Republic of the Philippines from Magsaysay, Macapagal, Marcos, Cory Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo,” Fernando said.
Ople, a journalist who was raised in Hagonoy, Bulacan, was also named as a “Champion of International Labor,” framer of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Senate President, and secretary of Foreign Affairs.
Ka Blas also fought during World War II as a teenager under the Del Pilar Regiment and the Buenavista Regiment of the Bulacan Military Area founded by the late former Bulacan Governor Alejo Santos.
Among the attendees were Ople’s family members headed by Ople’s wife Susana “Saning,” 91; son and former Board Member Felix Ople; nephew Board Member Bernardo Ople, employees from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); provincial capitol head departments, staff and local media.
After the inauguration, Bello gave P20 million to Bulacan PESO from DOLE’s TUPAD or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers budget plus 50 units of Negosyo Cart.
A Certificate of Commendation was also given to the Province of Bulacan and its PESO Department by Sec. Bello for establishing the first stand-alone PESO building in Central Luzon and for its commitment in providing exemplary employment facilitation services and being exemplary awardees of the DOLE’s PESO Hall of Fame Award in 2008 and DOLE Secretary’s Award for the PESO’s untiring service as an employment intermediary in 2014.
During the event, the necessary health protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19 were strictly implemented.