UPDATE: Cynthia Villar apologized for nurse remark, saying it was never her intention to belittle anyone.
Senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar sparked online outrage after delivering an odious remark against Filipino nurses during a live TV interview.
At the "Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato" special of GMA News TV aired last February 23, broadcaster and TV host Winnie Monsod, who was sitting as one of the panels, asked questions to the former Las Piñas representative about her stand on the Commision on Higher Education's (CHED) decision to close down 23 nursing schools in 2005-2006.
From 2004 to 2010, Villar has been the Chairwoman of the House of Representatives' Committee on Higher and Technical Education.
"Can you reconcile itong seeming disconnect between 'yung desire ninyo to help the poor at tsaka 'yung pagpanig niyo sa mga owners ng mga educational institutions na gustong isara ng Technical Nursing Committee at ng CHED?" Monsod, often known as Mareng Winnie asked.
Villar then said CHED gave the schools permit to operate but decided to close it down since there were no tertiary hospital where students can train.
"Ang sinasabi namin noon, hindi naman po kami kumokontra sa CHED. Ang sinasabi namin, kasi tinignan namin yung... syllabus, yung mga courses na kunin nila. And then nakita namin na after lang sa third year kailangan nila yung tertiary hospital so ni-request namin na hindi nalang ipasara yung pre-nursing, yung first two years..." Villar explained as her one-minute duration to answer ended.
As a follow-up question, Mareng Winnie asked about the difficulty of Filipino nurses being hired abroad and why the Technical Nursing Committee resigned only after 7 months in office.
Villar's response to the question eventually paved way to online outrage, criticizing her in social media.
"Pero yung amin po, ay sinasabi po namin sa kanila na actually, hindi naman kailangan ang nurse ay matapos ng BSN kasi itong ating mga nurses, gusto lang nila maging Room Nurse. Sa America or sa other countries, ano lang sila, 'yung parang mang-aalaga. Hindi naman sila kailangan ganoon kagaling kasi sa ibang country..."
On Twitter, netizens called Villar's remark as "foul" and "offensive," while some called on not to vote for her in the upcoming 2013 elections.
The YouTube video, uploaded by GMA News Online, has already viewed over 107,000 and received over a thousand "dislikes."
Apologized for creating confusion
Villar, through her official Facebook Page, issued a statement on Saturday about the issue.
She said the issue was beyond herself and that she just interceded as the chairperson of the committee, adding she had no power over CHED nor the nursing schools.
Villar also said the 30-second limit to answer the question was too short to explain the details. She also apologized if it created confusion and hoped her statement will clarify the issue.