Oliva Writes a Page in Alberta’s History

Oliva Writes a Page in Alberta’s History

The late Teresita Pajarillo Oliva is honored by The Royal Alberta Museum as it features a cabinet showing the uniform of nurses and an old and new machine to showcase the evolution of nursing in Alberta.

Tessie, as people called her, was the founder of the FNAA (Filipino Nurses Association of Alberta), a group that worked tirelessly to elevate the standards for Filipino nurses in Alberta. Oliva did not only help educate Filipino nurses but the multicultural community as well.

In 2008, when the Canadian government realized that there was a shortage of nurses, Capital Health sought the help of Oliva to bring in foreign nurses from the Philippines. Another country they brought in nurses from was the United Kingdom. Believe it or not, a majority of the nurses who came from the UK were Filipinos.

If there is a shortage of nurses in Alberta, there is an overabundance of nurses in the Philippines. But because of the differences in practice, most of the nurses that come from the Philippines end up working as a Licensed Practical Nurse, not as a Registered Nurse. Tessie was instrumental in bridging the gap so that nurses from the Philippines could be recognized as Registered Nurses when they came to Canada.

Today, Filipinos are proud to see that Tessie’s contribution to Alberta did not go to waste. If you visit the Royal Alberta Museum, please take time to visit the cabinet with a nurse uniform as they honor the contributions of the late Teresita Pajarillo Oliva. She was the Champion of Filipino nurses in Alberta. I am not sure if the FNAA still exists but if not, I wish someone would step up to revive the organization founded by Oliva to help future immigrant nurses in Alberta.

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In my column from last month, I was critical of the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver and I had so many questions as to why they were the ones who came to Alberta for the Consular Outreach in Edmonton instead of the Calgary Consulate. Because of this, in the spirit of fair reporting, I sought answers to my questions when I met with Vice Consul Zaldy Patron of the Philippine Consulate in Calgary during a breakfast fundraiser. The honorable Vice Consul clarified that it is true that they ran out of a budget for the trip and it was their office in Calgary that asked for the help of the Consulate in Vancouver. Since Vancouver still had some funds to spare from their own budget, they came to Edmonton to provide their services to our kababayans. So, the Philippine Consulate of Vancouver was doing a favor for Philippine Consulate of Calgary. They were not here merely to travel, and I stand corrected. To answer one of my questions, which was why Vancouver couldn’t give Calgary their budget, it is because this is not allowed in Government, which I totally forgot. If the budget is for Vancouver it cannot just be transferred to Calgary. Vice Consul Patron adds they have already requested additional funds from the Department of Foreign Affairs. Since the Philippine Consulate in Calgary is fairly new, their funds were also very low. The office now serves over 220,000 Filipinos in Alberta. I hope that Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano can act on this matter and provide the Calgary Consular Office with a better working budget to serve our hardworking kababayans.

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Every summer we always hear people talking about road construction in Alberta. Well, spring and summer is usually when they do road construction because the weather is good, with snow on the ground and usually, longer periods of daylight. I am fine with road construction because they are trying to make our roads better and I see where the tax money is going.

What I want to understand is, why does it take them forever to fix the roads? If the daylight is longer during summer, why are they not working more hours? In other countries, if it is constructing roads or important government projects,those are worked on 24/7. Whereas here,we typically see work stop after 5 PM. Because of our weather,it is important that these roads are completed immediately. There needs to be a sense of urgency. The worst part is that they put up all the road signs and barriers as far as they can even if no one is working in those particular areas. The construction speed limit of 60 remains on a highway like White mud even when no one is working. Who makes sure that this is being done right? There should be someone checking if no one is. While I am all for the safety of the road workers, it is also not good to slow down the flow of traffic when no one is working on the construction site. I hope the Minister for Infrastructure of Alberta Sandra Jansen looks into this.

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