Press Release
September 16, 2011

SEPTEMBER 16, 2011

Honorable Governor Aurelio Matias-Umali of the Province of Nueva Ecija;

Madam Edelmira S. Bajacan, President, Philippine Nurses Association, Nueva Ecija Chapter;

Madam Merceditas R. Tiongson, President, Philippine Nurses Association, Bulacan Chapter and Secretary of PNA Region III;


Other officers and members of the Philippine Nurses Association of Region III; I thank you for inviting me as your guest of honor and speaker on the occasion of the Philippine Nurses Association Region III Convention and Oath- taking of New Registered Nurses . The Filipino family set-up is a natural nursing home. The mother starts it all, and when she has to leave home for work, the grandmother effortlessly takes over. While Western countries have institutional homes for the sick and elderly, the Filipino home beats them all in providing a caring environment.

The Filipino personality is tailor-made for hospitality and service to fellowmen, traits that fit well in the nursing profession. If every ocean-going ship in the world can be said to have at least one Filipino seaman on board, then I dare say that in every hospital in the world, there is a Filipino nurse ministering to the needs of a patient in that hospital.

It all begins in the Filipino home. Tried and tested in every Filipino house, the Filipino mother is a natural nurse. Given the chance, she breastfeeds her newborn, envelopes the child with love and protective arms during the tender years, and guides him to maturity. But as long as there is life, the Filipino parent's task of nurturing the child never ends. Thus, the popularity of the song "Anak" which traces the path of any child, even the wayward child, but still loved by the parents, no matter what. That is the Filipino family, the Filipino parent's heart, the nursing heart.

Because we are natural care-providers, the nursing profession is something a lot of Filipinos truly fit in. Ewan ko lang, pero nakarating na ako sa iba't ibang lugar sa mundo, dito lang sa atin napakalaganap ng mga taong madaling ngumiti at tumulong sa kapwa. Of course, there are always exceptions, but the majority of our people are easy to like, quick to smile, eager to serve. May mga bansa sa Europa, mga states sa America, kung saan may mga taong napakatipid ngumiti, napakaseriyoso sa buhay, at walang pakialam kung anu man ang mangyari sa kanyang kapwa. "Mind your own business" ang kanilang motto. Kaya ka lamang mapapansin ay may mga programa ang kanilang bansa na maging mabait sa mga turista, nguni't halata naman silang napipilitan lamang.

You all are full of hope, that your natural talents and academic preparation will help you in the future. Be not discouraged by the difficulty of getting employment here and abroad. You must persevere and show your capacities. Remember that education is not only for employment, but also for self-improvement.

While you are looking for jobs, do not forget your family. What you have learned must be shared to promote the good health of your own home, community, and barangay. Like a lighted lamp, your light should not be hidden from the others. Your talents must be shared and for which all should benefit.

Those of you who will start practising your nursing profession, I cannot help but ask you to open your minds and help me in the debate of determining how many maternal deaths are really occurring in our country due to pregnancy-related causes. Some place it at 11 maternal deaths a day while another survey puts it at 5 a day. These statistics are important in determining whether we are hearing the truths about the on-going debate that is going in public fora about the Reproductive Health Bill.

I respect your side on this matter but I also want to convey that my side is anti-Reproductive Health bill. I find that it is neither reproductive nor healthy. All methods of contraception, except abortion, they say, are espoused to prevent reproduction, and the use of certain pills and artificial means are known to have adverse effects on the body.

The aging population in the developed countries creates a demand for nurses like you, but the employment opportunities outside the country are not that easy to get anymore. The saturation point had been reached in some areas. You have to take your chance but I do hope that you serve your own people first, even in an informal sort of way before you really land a regular job.

Marami pong salamat, and Congratulations!

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