This was how Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III described the recognition given by the Queen of England to Filipino nurse Charito Romano for her exemplary work at a home care at the height of the Covid pandemic in the United Kingdom.
“Our congratulations may not be enough to express how our government is grateful to her for making our people very proud,” Bello said.
Bello added, “Nurse Romano’s outstanding performance exemplifies the Filipino virtues at work even under worst conditions and personal risks. What a very inspiring story for our overseas workers to start the new year.”
Romano was among the recipients of the Medal of the Order of the British Empire in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year Honours List 2021.
Romano works as a staff nurse at the Arbrook House Care Home in Esher, England since 2018. During the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020, she said their manager of the nursing home trusted her to make immediate decisions to assist their patients and protect their residents and keep them safe from the virus.
She and her fellow healthcare workers worked together tirelessly to make sure that no one in the care home would be infected. All their efforts paid off as she proudly shared that from March to 29 December 2020, Arbrook House is COVID-free.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in London quoted Romano as having expressed gratitude to her manager for trusting her to lead their team.
“I am sharing this award to all my colleagues and to the whole Arbrook team. If not for them, I will not be able to have this award. It is a team-effort,” Charito said.
Charito is originally from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. She studied nursing at the Wesleyan University Philippines and worked at the Philippine Population Office in their province. It was their RLE coordinator in their school who encouraged her to work abroad.
Charito arrived in the UK in 2002 using a work visa. Her husband is also working in a care home as a senior carer. They are blessed with three lovely children. Both are working full time while raising their kids.
When asked about her advice to Filipino nurses who just arrived in the UK, she said that it is important to embrace the culture of the UK the same way that they are embracing ours. She also emphasized the importance of dedication to their work. “Be yourself and always work with your heart. There will be difficult times, but you will be able to survive it. If you work with your heart and always ask for the guidance of the Lord, you will never go wrong,” she said.
Charito is also beaming with pride as she shared that she always keeps in mind that she is not just representing herself but her organization, her profession and her country, the Philippines, in everything that she does. She also shared her message to all Filipinos especially those working overseas. “This is the time to show the world what we can be. Whatever you do, you dedicate yourself to it. Always remember that that wherever you are, whatever you do, you will always shine because Filipinos are hard workers.”
The New Year Honours list “recognises the achievements and incredible efforts of hundreds of public sector and community workers” in the country and aims to “champion diversity at all levels and celebrates the breadth of service given by people from all backgrounds from all across the UK.”