Ople May Yet Break Senate Impasse through DFA portfolio.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, June 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Ople May Yet Break Senate Impasse through DFA portfolio.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


BLAS F. Ople may yet solve the Senate impasse and become the next Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

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By a curious twist of fate it may be through the intermediation of Prez Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that Senator Ople may achieve the zenith of his political career as foreign secretary.

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Ople's term as senator expires in 2004, but it seems the country is not ready for his retirement.

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In recognition of his leadership, the Senate elected him prez in 1999-2000, later stepping down in favor of Sen. Franklin M. Drilon to honor a gentleman's agreement.

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Ople has chaired the foreign relations committee by the unanimous vote of all his colleagues regardless of party, since he was elected to the Senate in 1992.

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Ople sponsored the Visiting Forces Agreement, withstanding a record of 47 hours of interpellations on the Senate floor. It passed without a single dissenting vote. He also sponsored the WTO treaty.

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Then Sen. Arroyo and Sen. Francisco S. Tatad co-sponsored the treaty with him and steered the treaty to unanimous approval after much acrimonious debate.

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As a senator, Ople authored the International Migrants Act which geared the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor to the protection of all overseas Filipino workers.

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For this purpose, he created the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Labor Attache Corps and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

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Senator Ople was also 1 of the 1st legislators to file an Absentee Voting Bill to enable overseas Filipinos to vote in nat'l elections. Together with his colleague, Sen. Edgardo Angara, Ople pushed for the 3rd reading approval of the bill under the new Senate majority, catching the administration senators by surprise. …

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