Unsung Heroes, Filam Front Liners

Remembering Araceli Ilagan, Daisy Doronila, Debbie Accad, Noel Sinkiat, Leo dela Cruz

America’s unsung heroes, Filipino-Americans front liners losing the battle over COVID pandemic

God always has plans that no mere mortal can understand. When St. Thomas the apostle wanted to see Jesus in the flesh after he was told that He had risen from the dead, he was immediately rebuked by the Lord.

We all need to put our faith in Him because He will never give us what we cannot bear.

The world is experiencing a pandemic of epic proportions, and it has not only resulted in sickness and death, but it has also seen thousands of companies collapsing under the weight of the coronavirus.

By the time everything settles, things would not be the same, at least not for the immediate future.

ASIAN LIVES MATTER TOO—Troubling stories.

The front liners, doctors and nurses, are among the highest hit in all this.

Healthcare providers are among the hardest hit since the virus outbreak began. More than 100 doctors and nurses around the world lost their lives and counting.

In the United States alone, at least 60 Filipino healthcare providers had valiantly fought the virus, and in the process, lost their lives. We take comfort in Christ our savior who said…

“Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30

Chinese-looking Filipinos face even more racism.

Highly esteemed Filipino nurses

Filipino doctors and nurses are widely respected in the States. In a 2016 census, 6% of the total 200,000 international doctors in the States are graduates from Philippine universities.

They are also the most passionate in this fight against the coronavirus, as Fil-Am workers “have suffered some of the most staggering losses”, according to ProPublica.

What is so heartbreaking about this is that these Filipino healthcare providers went to the US to earn a living and that some of them were retired, coming back to help fight the virus. They felt it was their duty to God and humankind to do so.

History of Filipino immigrants to USA.

Here are some of our Filipino brothers and sisters who perished in this fight during the early COVID-19 outbreak in 2020

Araceli Buendia Ilagan

Araceli Ilagan was the first Fil-Am nurse to have succumbed to COVID-19 complications. She was an ICU nurse at the Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she worked for 33 years. She was 63.

Daisy Doronila

Daisy Doronila worked as a nurse at the Hudson County jail for more than two decades. She was diagnosed by her doctor with strep throat and later on was admitted to a hospital due to fever and dry cough. She was put on a ventilator eight days later. She died on April 5. Daisy was 60.

Debbie Accad

Debbie Accad worked as a nurse at the VA’s John D. Dingell Medical Center in Detroit. She was admitted at the Taylor Hospital for pneumonia, where she died 11 days later.  

“She sacrificed her life for our troops. I want my mom to be known for what she did,” her son Mark Accad told the Free Press. Divina was 72.

Dr. Leo dela Cruz

Dr. dela Cruz was among the many doctors who lost their lives treating patients stricken with COVID-19. He was a geriatric psychiatrist form Jersey City. Dela Cruz died on April 7, 2020 at the Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Noel Sinkiat

Noel Sinkiat was already looking forward to enjoying the fruits of his lifelong labor, as he was supposed to retire next year. That was until coronavirus struck. Sinkiat is known to be the second Fil-Am nurse in the U.S. to fall victim to COVID-19. He was 64.

Double standard for Filipino Nurses in USA.

In UK, about 25 Filipino health workers died because of the pandemic.

Let’s take a moment to honor them

Divina, Araceli, Daisy, Leo, Noel, and many others all gave their best to fight an unseen enemy and perished in doing so. They placed their lives on the line and let God do the rest, and now they are all with Him in paradise.

Let all of us who they left behind not let their sacrifices for naught, and continue to serve the people who are in need with the same dedication as our fallen comrades once had.



  1. They are really unsung heroes, Filipina nurses like me have given our lives in this country. While its OK people don’t make a big deal or fuzz of us, I hope will be less discriminated. I am over that though, old and gray.

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