By Henri Abenis-Macahilo
Some Filipina nurses in the UAE who worked as frontliners at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have been chosen as recipients of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Marilag Awards 2021, in recognition of their significant contributions to the community at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The top awardees were Nenita Domingo Tuddao and Juliet Topino Solas from Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Nenita Domingo Tuddao, a Special Care Unit Nurse at a private hospital, is a frontliner staff nurse who attends to patients with COVID-19 and conducts education and training for COVID-19 protocols. She is also involved in the care of long-term chronic diseases and is the hospital’s spokesperson on case management.
Juliet Topino Solas is a charge nurse and clinical educator in another hospital, assisting in the preparation of the COVID-19 units, medical consumables and personal protective equipment.
Other awardees and nominees across the UAE were Joan Asenjo Florendo, Gidget Bohol Retig, Amy Magracia Miranda, Lilibeth Abayon Romo, Carmina Palma Terrado, Ma. Victoria Domingo, Divina Digap, Maricel Villanueva, Mary Companero, Felyn Espina, Amna Beloria, and Lorraine Alvarez.
“Today’s Marilag Awards 2021 marks the day that we open our doors to a limited number of individuals and group to give recognition to a few women in the healthcare sector who have actively responded to the challenges,” said Labor Attache Felicitas Bay, who welcomed guests to the awarding ceremonies on March 25 at POLO –Dubai which opened for the first time, a year after closing its doors from all public gatherings.
Philippine Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates (PCG-DNE) Paul Raymond Cortez commending the awardees for their dedication and hard work said, “It is an opportune time to find out who among our kababayans have risen to the occasion unknowing about the awards. May you continue to be as noble, as generous, as human as possible not only to those you serve in the hospital, but elsewhere in the larger multi-community.”
Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, in pre-recorded speeches, paid tribute to the awardees and all Filipino women workers, including OWWA-DNE staff who are serving in the frontlines amid the pandemic.
“I know that you are all worthy of the award. To all women workers in the Philippines and women OFWs around the world, Juana, we salute you,” said Bello who also chairs the OWWA Board of Trustees.
“We recognize the hard work and dedicated service of our OWWA frontliners – those assigned in the airports, bus terminals, and shelters, as well as those assigned in our regional welfare offices and foreign posts, in charge of providing food and welfare assistance. Your hard work and sacrifice in the face of the pandemic are truly admirable,” said Cacdac.
According to Cacdac, Filipino female migrants are about 25-30% of the migrant workers population and were among the first hit by the pandemic.
More than 8,000 Filipino nurses serve the health sector, both public and private, in Dubai and Northern Emirates.
The Marilag Award was launched in 2019 as part of the Gender and Development initiatives of OWWA, in conjunction with the International Women’s Month.
OWWA Dubai’s Welfare Officer Melvin Caseda, and Rene Cantuba, vice president of the Filipino Nurses Association in the Emirates (FNAE), selected the two awardees and four nominees from Dubai and the Northern Emirates, guided by the following criteria: women who make change, women who empower and women who inspire.
This year’s award theme is “Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!” (Juana Fight Against the Pandemic: You can!)
About the author: Henri Abenis-Macahilo is the UAE Bureau Chief of Philippine-based news portal, NewsLinePH