Forgive Villar, doctors urge

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Former Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar. INQUIRER PHOTO/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines—In this season of Lent, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) on Saturday urged the public to forgive Team PNoy senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar for her remarks about Filipino nurses for which she was roundly criticized.

PMA vice president Leo Olarte called for compassion and sobriety in the matter, especially after Villar, the wife of Sen. Manuel Villar, apologized for having offended nurses.

“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,” Villar had said in a letter to the Philippine Nurses Association.

Villar got into hot water after she was asked by former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Solita Monsod in an election forum about her alleged intervention in favor of nursing school owners that resulted in substandard nursing schools being allowed to continue operating back in 2005.

She told Monsod that nurses did not need to finish their course since they only wanted to become “room nurses” or caretakers. Her comment was swiftly criticized on social networking sites.

Villar said the one-minute time limit given for her answer and the complexity of the issue regarding the closure order from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) prevented her from answering Monsod’s question in a clear and concise manner.

“What I was trying to say was that nursing students affected by the CHEd closure order several years ago deserved concrete and better career and academic options other than just the abrupt closure of the institutions that they were enrolled in,” Villar said.  Philip C. Tubeza

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