This 2021 National Women’s Month Celebration with the theme “Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!” is high time to emphasize the strong independent women and their extraordinary work.

Mia Pielago is one of the many working professionals stranded in Iloilo City due to the suspension of public transportation and implementation of border restrictions during the lockdown.  But instead of standing aside during a difficult situation, she sees an opportunity to organize and help.

When local hospitals had a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), Mia and her team, in the leadership and support of DOST VI Regional Director Gelonga, started to make improvised face shields and distributed these to selected hospitals.  The team made use of readily available office supplies such as acetate films, elastic bands, foam boards, sticker papers and adhesive tapes.  Because most non-essential establishments are closed during the ECQ, the team had to maximize the available materials to make more face shields.

Mia also led the preparation and distribution of food packs to Magsaysay Village pedicab drivers and DOST VI canteen and maintenance staff.  Together with the members of the DOST VI Cooperative, Mia offered assistance considering that livelihood of the drivers and staff were significantly affected by the lockdown.

She shares that as the world continues to find long-term solutions for this pandemic, ordinary citizens should also be active in coming up with ways to help the community.  Improvised face shields and other COVID-19 projects implemented by DOST are small but useful ways to help the community especially to frontline healthcare workers.

When asked about her personal difficulties during the pandemic, Mia considered it tough to ensure that her family had enough food on the table and money to buy their needs. She says, “The challenge of being away from my family while the world is in chaos is such a difficult season. While distance is something that social media and telecommunications can solve, another challenge is how to make sure that my family has food on their table, and money to buy their needs and protection against this virus.”

Despite this, Mia developed a stronger and deeper faith in God. She shares, “All these uncertainties were on my head but one thing I am confident with is behind all these things we have a God who sees, hears and knows what He is doing. I have a deep faith with my God that whatever I am going through is for His glory and that whoever walks with Him shall not be troubled or afraid. Instead, He will give His perfect peace.”

Armed with bold faith and determined action, she is #MyWonderJuana inspiring women with hope amidst this pandemic.