For senator-elect Villar, jobs, nurses and OFWs a priority
Senate roster for 16th Congress complete. Senate's "Magic 12" now complete with the proclamation Saturday night of last 3 winners Gringo Honasan, Cynthia Villar, and JV Ejercito. Re-proclaimed were Koko Pimentel (L) and Nancy Binay (center). Danny Pata
After the initial controversy involving nurses during the campaign period, Senator-elect Cynthia Villar says when she assumes office in June, one of her priorities would be a bill that seeks to put a nurse in every barangay and school in the country.
“Nagpapasalamat sila sa akin kasi nakipag-usap ako sa kanila. At isa sa mga pinakiusap nila ay filing a bill na all schools and barangays have to have at least one nurse,” Villar said in an interview over GMA News TV’s News to Go Monday.
Villar took a beating on social media when she remarked that some nursing students did not have to finish their undergraduate degrees if they wanted to be “room nurses” abroad. Villar has since apologized to nurses, remaining adamant that she was misquoted, and did not have time to adequately explain her position.
But Villar added that she wanted to go a step further to help nurses get empowered as entrepreneurs, rather than as mere employees.
“Maybe I can have a pilot project na nurse’s clinic, for them to become entrepreneurs rather than employees lang,” Villar said, noting that she sees inspiration in the lying-in midwife’s clinics that offer birthing services to women, even without a doctor.
The senator-elect also said she did not see how the controversy with the nurses may have affected her performance in the poll.
“Even at the height of the issue, sa surveys, 'di naman ako naapektuhan. I don't know if naapekto 'yun, pero 'di naman ako bumaba sa surveys,” she said.
Leading up the the elections, Villar had been consistently ranked on the fifth to sixth rank. And at the time of her proclamation Saturday, she ranked 10th in the roster of incoming senators.
Rank doesn’t matter
Despite the lower showing in the polls, Villar said she was happy placing 10th, adding that rank doesn’t really matter in the long run.
“Basta nanalo masaya tayo,” Villar said.
“I am thankful. It's what's given to us, and as long as I am given a chance to serve, it doesn't matter. The rankings don’t matter,” she added.
Meanwhile Villar also disputed insinuations that she was among those who spent the most during her campaign.
“There were strict rules on election spending. Careful kami dun,” she said.
Other priority bills
VIllar also noted that she plans to continue what her husband Manny has started in the Senate, in particular pushing for a separate Department for Overseas Filipino Workers, and providing legislation to assist small and medium scale enterprises.
“I will continue what he has started, particularly the creation of a Department of OFWs para centralized into one department. Ngayon kasi, DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) ang lead agencies. Dati wala kasi walang OFWs, pero ngayon times have changed. OFWs ang panahon,” she said.
Villar also said she wants to help businesses create more jobs through her proposed laws.
“I have been busy providing livelihood to the people, and we'll continue with that. In terms of job generation, I can create legislation to compel businesses to be more labor intensive,” she said.
But Villar remained adamant that she will be independent, and will not let other people, including her husband, outgoing Senator Manny Villar, to control her.
“Siguro mabibigyan niya akong advice, but I will be the one to do it. He'll go back completely to the private sector,” she said. —Patricia Denise Chiu/KG, GMA News