‘Not an affront’: Villar says sorry to middle class for remark on cash aid
MANILA, Philippines — Following a backlash on social media, Senator Cynthia Villar on Wednesday “humbly”apologized for the remarks she made during a Senate hearing regarding the cash aid assistance being allocated to members of the middle class amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“My statements during the hearing yesterday was not in any manner meant to be an affront to the hardworking middle class of the country. I might have framed my questions and statements in such a manner that made it seem I was insensitive to the plight of the middle income sector. I am NOT,” Villar said in a statement.
“I am concerned and I look out for the welfare of the middle income workers. If I have offended anyone with my statements, I humbly apologize,” she added.
The senator then acknowledged the contribution of the middle class to the country’s economy.
“The middle class are the backbone of the Philippine economy and I recognize the workers’ contributions to the country and their families,” she said.
During the Senate hearing on the status of the government’s COVID-19 response on Tuesday, Villar questioned why the middle class should receive cash aid from the government when they are receiving salaries during the quarantine period.
“The intention of my questions yesterday was to clarify reports about the middle class workers who remain employed but have been included as among the beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the government,” the senator went on.
Villar pointed out that Congress had intended the SAP funds to benefit the poor and the unemployed, and that lawmakers made sure that it was clear who the targeted beneficiaries of the cash assistance were.
“The workers who continue to receive their salaries during the quarantine were excluded as eligible beneficiaries because they did not lose their income even amid the strict quarantine setup,” she added.