MANILA - The company nurse who went viral for helping a homeless woman give birth at a street corner in Makati was recognized by fellow Filipino nurses as a hero for her actions.
Mary Lorrainne Pingol was awarded the 2020 "Bayaning Nars" award by the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) on Tuesday during an online convention to mark Philippine Nurses' Week and the organization's 98th anniversary.
The award is voted upon yearly by the PNA, the country's accredited organization of nurses, to honor "unsung" nurse heroes.
The 30-year-old nurse at a medical insurance firm became a face for medical frontliners last August after stopping on her way to work to assist a rescue team in delivering a baby girl at Bgy. Bangkal.
"Her heroic and extraordinary deed is truly an epitome of pride and inspiration to the nursing profession," the PNA's citation read.
Pingol, who had left hospital work for nearly a decade after being diagnosed with leukemia, told ABS-CBN News the award and her experience over the past months was a confirmation of her desire to stay in the profession.
She said she had been praying for a way to return gradually to nursing without compromising her health.
"It's like God is telling me, 'Iha, para diyan ka sa nursing.' It makes me want to continue and strive as nurse," she said in a message.
"After being out of nursing practice for almost a decade, I never expected that I would gain recognition as nurse. I am sure that there are more skillful nurses out there who have helped save lives," she wrote online.
"Nevertheless, I am grateful to receive this professional award although being a hero is definitely not something I will ever see myself as."
Pingol later received a scholarship to study for a master's in nursing and was given recognitions by a women's group and a sports team.
She was the only living candidate who qualified for the award this year, said Dr. Clement John Navarrete, PNA governor for the National Capital Region zones 4 and 5.
Navarette, who nominated Pingol, said her action "exemplifies love of God and country, caring and integrity beyond her call of duty," Navarrete said in a message.
Alongside Pingol, the PNA awarded posthumous "Bayaning Nars" awards to 14 Filipino nurses who died in the line of duty since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They include Cainta nurse Ma. Theresa Cruz, who died in July and spurred a public discussion on the welfare of medical frontliners.
The other nurse awardees who died battling COVID-19 were Manuel Pacheco, Rosalino Cruz, Elvies Duque, Arvin Pascual, Faye Marie Palafox, Eric Arandia, Ian Anthony Vilog, Shiela Malto, Baguio Arenas, Gamir Gumayan, Joey Ner, Gilbert Catan, and Albert Bryan Aspiras.