Villar will join Senate sessions via teleconferencing
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Cynthia Villar will not be physically attending Senate sessions for safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“But I will participate in Senate proceedings through teleconferencing,” she said in a statement on Sunday. “Manny and I are staying at home to be safe. Through the help of our faithful staff, who are living with us temporarily, I have been doing my work continuously,”
The Senate is set to resume its session on Monday, May 4, with, as Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said, more than 12 senators expected to be physically present.
During the May 4 session, senators are set to adopt a Senate resolution that will allow plenary sessions and committee hearings through teleconferencing as Metro Manila remains under an enhanced community quarantine.
“Manny is managing our business online. I can take the risk, but Manny cannot. He is managing a very big organization with thousands of employees and workers,” Villar went on, referring her husband who was a former Senate president.
“The companies need him because of a predicted economic recession. We have experienced recessions in 1983 and 1997. Like before, Manny has to manage the business to overcome the present challenges,” she added.
Villar, meanwhile, urged the government to allow daily wage earners to return to work.
“There are people like us who can opt to work from home in the new normal as we know it. But as I have recommended earlier, the daily wage earners, most of whom are financially challenged, and comprise 59% of our population should be allowed to go back to work in order not to go hungry,” she said.
“No amount of relief and government support will be enough to feed them,” she added.
Villar also said the government should establish a set of protocols for workers so that they could immediately go to work.
“I hope our policymakers will realize that they should establish a protocol that workers will follow so they can go back to work (as soon as possible),” she said.
“We as legislators will also find ways and means to help our countrymen as we all adapt to the new normal,” she added.
Metro Manila and other “high risk” areas remain under an enhanced community quarantine until May 15 while a general community quarantine has been imposed on moderate to low-risk provinces.
Under a general community quarantine, firms in industries like agriculture and food manufacturing are allowed to operate, along with hospitals and the like.
To date, Philippine health officials have confirmed 9,223 COVID-19 cases nationwide, of whom 1,214 have recovered and 607 have died.
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