CITY OF MALOLOS – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III recently led the oath-taking of some 1,049 officials and members of various program partners of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bulacan province.

The oath-taking, which highlighted one of the festivities commemorating Ka Blas Ople’s 90th birthday, was held at the front premises of the Gusaling Gat Blas F. Ople in Malolos City.

This year’s theme “Kahalagahan ng Edukasyon, Pamana sa Bagong Henerasyon,” coincides with the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLEs) regard for education as a tool for sustainable job and livelihood opportunities.

Some 569 Barangay Technical and Employment Coordinators (BTECs), 300 OFW Family Circle (OFC) members, and 180 Bulacan Guidance Advocates Network, Inc. (BCGANI) members renewed their commitment as DOLE program partners.

The BTECs will be responsible for coursing various training and capacity building as well as employment facilitation activities to the grassroots within their respective barangays.

The OFCs, as an OFW-based support group, will facilitate/coordinate employment, livelihood, and other forms of intervention for their family or relatives working abroad as OFWs.

The BCGANI, on the other hand, will continue serving as career guidance and coaching champions that will prepare graduating students in choosing right career paths.

In addition to their duties, they will also closely coordinate with the DOLE, various industries, and education agencies, in helping further minimize jobs mismatch.

All DOLE program partners have strong linkages with the Local Government Units through their respective Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs), the academe, and other civil society groups.

Bello, who assured that the DOLE will continue providing technical assistance to its program partners, urged for their continued support, the way Blas Ople has done for them.

“We remain committed in providing assistance in the attainment of decent work for every Filipino who either wants to enter the world of work or engage in livelihood projects in pursuit of sustaining them into successful businesses,” Bello said.

“At the wake of the 90th birthday of Ka Blas Ople, let us emulate his selfless act serving our country as a Senator and Cabinet Secretary for the Labor and Foreign Affairs Department in the utmost interest of every Filipino worker, especially those working abroad as OFWs, who are deemed close to his heart. Let us continue to be at our best in his honor,” he added.

Bello went on saying that the DOLE program partners play a significant role in enabling more Filipinos land jobs here and abroad likewise engaging the marginalized sector to entrepreneurship.

At present, employment facilitation programs include the holding of Job Fairs, Special Recruitment Activities (SRA), and Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), among others.

Meanwhile, welfare programs include livelihood intervention from the DOLE Integrated and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP), Career Guidance and Coaching, OFW-related programs, and other Capacity Building Activities.

Bulacan’s top officials spearheading the event are Provincial Governor Wilhemino Sy-Alvarado, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, Provincial PESO Manager Elizabeth Alonzo, and other officials of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Ople’s children--Susan “Toots” Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute and 1st District Board Member Felix Ople--were also present in honoring their father.

Joining Bello were DOLE Regional Director Ana Dione, Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominque Rubia-Tutay, and Technical Support and Services Division for Employment and Welfare head Alejandro Inza-Cruz.

Other important highlights of the Blas Ople Day include the launching of the Tech4ED and its Center, as well as the opening of the Hagonoy Art Group Exhibit. (Jerry Borja/DOLE-3 LCO)