Cynthia Villar, a Team Pinoy senatorial candidate, issues apology on Monday for the recent remark she made against nurses during a portion of GMA News TV’s forum for candidates called “Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato” on its February 23 episode.
The former congresswoman wrote to Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) for her remark which earned the ire of nurses. In her letter, she wrote “I truly am sorry for having offended the feelings of your members. It was never my intention to belittle anyone, least of all, the valiant members of the nursing profession.”
“What I was trying to say during that media forum was that nursing students affected by a CHED closure order several years ago deserved concrete and better career and academic options other than just an abrupt closure of the institutions that they were currently enrolled in,” she added.
The remark was criticized by netizens over the weekend. They took it as defamatory to the nursing profession. In that forum, she asked to comment on how can she reconcile her desire to help the poor and taking sides of the nursing school owners.
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She also appeals for understanding from the citizens, particularly the nurses and students, who were offended by her remark. She cited that due to time constraint, she was not able to explain all she wanted and have to say in the forum, where a candidate is given only a minute to answer issues thrown to them by a member of the panel.
“Mahirap po talagang pagkasyahin sa loob ng isang minuto at kalahati ang lahat ng gusto kong sabihin tungkol sa mga naging problema ng mga mag-aaral ng nursing noon at hanggang ngayon. Napakalaki ng aking paghanga sa mga nars, saan man sila naglilingkod kaya’t nalulungkot ako dahil nagkulang ang aking pagpapaliwanag.”
She insisted that she has nothing against nurses. In fact, her husband Senator Manny Villar, authored a law for better wages for government nurses in 2002, while seated in the senate.
“During the First Davao del Sur Congress of the Philippine Nurses Association- Davao del Sur Chapter in November of last year, I spoke in favor of the immediate implementation of Republic Act No. 9173 also known as the Nursing Act of 2002 that increases the minimum salary of government nurses to around P24,000 or Salary Grade 15 instead of the present P18,000 equivalent to only Salary Grade 11.”
“That this law passed way back in 2002 remains unimplemented speaks volumes about the sad plight of your sector. No wonder so many Filipino nurses are compelled to leave the country for economic reasons,” Villar said in her letter to the PNA.