August 24 Weekly Roundup: The Many Faces of Courage
“How does courage look like?”
This was the key question of a local telecommunications company’s advertisement that’s been running in social media since last week. The material spoke volumes to me because it emphasized how Filipinos have been demonstrating courage in different ways amid the pandemic. It showed a soon-to-be mother letting go of personal items for online selling; a brave entrepreneur transitioning her company to the online environment; and individuals who are simply trying out new apps and services available in the Internet. We usually take these little acts of courage for granted, thinking that everyone else is just as brave enough to do them. In reality, many of us may need the extra push just to be able to do these things, which can come in the form of seeing others successfully doing them.
That’s the thing about courage: It can be very contagious, and its impact snowballs when more and more people join in. As an example, another Filipino invention has surfaced last week to help deal with the current pandemic: Rovidoc is a healthcare robot invented by the Institute for Innovation in Business and Emerging Technologies of the Bulacan State University. It is currently being used in Bulacan Medical Center to care for COVID-19 patients, so that the medical frontliners’ physical exposure to them is lessened. Another is the courageous action of Medicard Philippines’ Company Nurse, Ms. Mary Lorraine Pingol: She successfully delivered the baby of a homeless woman on a Makati City sidewalk, even when she’s more than an hour late for work. It is also remarkable how both incidents have transpired within the week when Ninoy Aquino Day was celebrated, a day that we dedicate to the countless heroes who demonstrated courage during the Martial Law.
Even recruitment agencies like us weren’t able to escape this contagion. Inspired by the strong opposition of various nursing groups against the healthcare worker deployment ban, we wrote a position paper addressed to the IATF-EID, POEA and OWWA last June indicating the benefits of immediately and fully lifting the ban. We voiced out our concerns in the various meetings that the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI) arranged with other relevant groups. We also encouraged Filipino nurses to make a strong and solid stand on this, because even if the ban has affected our recruitment business, it will have a bigger impact on the country’s nursing profession, especially in the future.
But it is not enough for recruitment agencies like us to speak on this, nurses. Because when it comes to the deployment ban, only one voice truly matters and that is yours. Having one, solid stand, however, may be difficult to attain among Filipino nurses because some may think that this issue doesn’t directly affect them. Some nurses may think that they are free from the consequences of the ban because they are already working abroad; employed in stable government hospitals; working in BPOs; or aren’t practicing the nursing profession at all. But did you know that all Filipino nurses will be affected if the deployment ban carries on?
Accepting the ban means that Filipino nurses are allowing someone else to easily impose rules and restrictions on their profession. It doesn’t matter how universal or all-encompassing they believe nursing should be, because another party dictates what and how it should be anyway. Accepting the ban means nurses are relinquishing their loyalty to their nursing work, an important part of the very oath that they took, since it must now be anchored towards government or country instead. Accepting the ban means not making the nursing profession any more enticing to young Filipinos. There is nursing shortage everywhere in the world, and nurses may have to brace themselves for even worse ones in the following decades because many Filipinos may not want to become nurses anymore.
We do not need to invent healthcare robots or deliver babies on city streets to demonstrate courage. Most times, it’s the small actions that make a big difference, such as using our voices and making a stand on matters like these. Yes, there is always a possibility of failure, but it will definitely encourage more to come out of their shells as well.