Iloilo Third District Rep. Lorenz R. Defensor has committed to personally work to pass laws in Congress benefiting the country’s nurses.

He recognized their role during the health pandemic as he spoke to close to 3,000 nurses gathering for their national confab that officially opened on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Iloilo Convention Center.

“This is the perfect opportunity to thank you for your service during the three years of the pandemic. Kayo po ang nagligtas sa amin at sa aming mga pamilya. Kayo po ang nag-alaga sa amin. (You saved us and our families. You took care of us). It’s about time that we take care of the nurses in the country,” he said in his keynote address before the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA).

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), he said that more than 50 percent of the more or less 951,000 nurses in the country are active in their profession; more than one-third are working abroad.

“We should be more inspired to give you better opportunities to serve your country,” he added.

Iloilo Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, in welcoming the delegates on behalf of Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., said Filipinos witnessed the incredible role of nurses in the fight against the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19).

“From the front lines of triage to the crucial hospital care, and even in the post-hospital care, nurses have been at the forefront, selflessly serving and caring for patients with unwavering dedication,” he said.

Banias, a medical doctor by profession, said nurses have exemplified the true spirit of heroism and resilience during the pandemic.

“They have displayed incredible adaptability, taking on new challenges like vaccination campaigns and educating communities on the importance of preventive measures. With your skilled hands and compassionate hearts, you have become beacons of hope and agents of healing,” he added.

In this modern era of hospital care, he said nurses are not just the backbone but are the strong pillars that hold the health care system together.

This year’s convention anchors on the theme “Gearing Up for Global Health Challenges with Renewed Vitality.”

PNA national president Melvin D. Miranda, in his message, said they will continue to represent and raise the voices of their fellow nurses and underscored the significance of support coming from the local and national governments.

“For us to be driven, it is very important for the nurses also and the carers to be taken care of. That’s why all of us are gathered here, educators, nurses in the hospitals, community health nurses. We need to be recognized as one voice for us to move forward,” he said.Perla Lena/PNA