Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople revealed that she had battled cancer two years ago, adding that she had breast cancer surgery on February 26, 2020.
“I’m very open and transparent na sinulat ko pa sa column ko, wala pang election noon (I even wrote about it in my column, this was even before the elections). This was February 26, 2020, I had my breast cancer surgery and a few days after nag-lockdown na. Stage 2 breast cancer, two years ago,” she said in The Mangahas Interviews.
“Two years and four months out na ako, out of that my recent mammogram. Thank God all clear naman,” she added.
The DMW Secretary said she still goes through active treatment despite being clear of cancer.
Ople said she was proud to have overcome these challenges, noting that critics had pointed to her health as one of her weaknesses.
“I would not wish [cancer] on any other person... and proud ako na napagdaanan ko yun and I'm still here and I'm thankful. Feeling ko lang ‘wag yon. Kung gusto niyo ako atakihin, atakihin ninyo ako on competence, integrity,” she added.
(I’m proud that I have been through that and I’m still here and I’m thankful. But do not attack me based on that, attack me on my competence and integrity.)
She said that she was “open” and willing to work with those who criticized her based on her health.
“I trust in God, I’m thankful, and for those who see my health problem as a problem in terms of performance, siguro ang ano ko na lang is ano (all I can say to that is) work with me, I am very open,” she said.
“Just come and approach me, let us have coffee. I don’t mind, I’m just so grateful to be here yun lang talaga (that's all). I’m so grateful, blessed, and humbled to be here,” she added.
Ople earlier said that she would hold meetings with other government agencies to discuss how to safeguard the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
She said that she would talk with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to address the issues of OFWs, particularly in Saudi Arabia. — DVM, GMA News