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August 31 Weekly Roundup: Filipino Nurse Heroes

We have been emphasizing the importance of courage in our previous roundups, and we’re glad to see it in even more people last week. First, Senator Nancy Binay declared her stand against the healthcare worker deployment ban, mentioning that this must not be implemented if they cannot be compensated properly while working here. Second, DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin maintained his support for immediately lifting the ban in a recent interview. When the President said that nurses need to stay in the country “as reserve force just in case the pandemic gets worse”, Locsin mentioned that reserve forces are usually paid well, which is far from what’s currently happening.

We are all hoping that more leaders like them will step up and support our cause, because voices like theirs truly make an impact. However, we do not need to look outside the nursing profession to see remarkable individuals who are also making a difference and upholding the relevance of nursing. In the spirit of National Heroes’ Day, we recognize these Filipino nurses who are bravely making the world a better place through being the best nurses that they can be.

1. Maristela Abenojar. Ms. Abenojar is the President of Filipino Nurses United, a national organization of Filipino nurses that has been fighting for nurses’ rights, welfare and related nursing concerns and advocacies for people’s right to health. Though FNU is a relatively new organization, it is at the forefront of vocalizing the stand of all Filipino nurses against the healthcare worker deployment ban. Ms. Abenojar is known for her no-nonsense statements that clearly and comprehensively explain the side of the thousands of nurses that she represent.

2. Jasper Tolarba. Last May, Mr. Tolarba was announced as the new Director of Global Standards and Qualifications of CGFNS International, Inc., the world’s largest credentialing organization for foreign-educated nurses and health professionals. He has been with CGFNS since 2016, where he has helped thousands of foreign-educated nurses and other health care professionals with their goal of migrating to the U.S., Canada, and other countries. In his new role, he will be collaborating with global leaders in the fields of education, regulation, accreditation and practice to promote innovation and harmonization across different nursing bodies.

3. Arlene Aleta and Niel Cahatian. In July 2020, Ms. Aleta and Mr. Cahatian were among 100 nurses who received the Nurses’ Merit Award in Singapore. This award is usually given to nurses who have displayed noteworthy and exceptional performance, participated in professional development, and contributed to raising the standard of the nursing profession. Nurses are nominated for the award by their healthcare institutions and selected by a panel set up by the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH). Ms. Aleta and Mr. Cahatian each received a medal and a cash prize of 1,000USD for getting NMAs.

4. Ninfa Saunders. Ms. Saunders is the President and CEO of Navicent Health, one of the biggest hospitals in Georgia, U.S.A. She has more than 45 years of hospital administrative and clinical experience and has received various awards and recognitions throughout her career. You may check out the rest of her profile at, or you can even join her team by applying as a Staff Nurse in the institution that she’s managing. If you are an NCLEX passer that has at least 2 years of post-license work experience in the M/S, ER, OR or ICU unit and is currently employed in a hospital with at least 50 beds, then you are encouraged to apply. Simply email your CV to or sign-up at

Surely there are many other Filipinos who are transforming the world through the nursing profession, but it will take days for us to list down all of their names here. What’s more important is how such role models inspire us to be better nurses and remind us that we can also make a difference through the profession that we’re in.

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