"Team PNoy" senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar has apologized to nurses who were offended by her remark regarding the nursing profession.
"Taos-puso po akong humihingi ng paumanhin sa lahat ng mga nurse at kani-kanilang pamilya na labis na nasaktan sa aking kasagutan sa tanong na ibinato sa akin sa isang programa sa TV," she posted on her Twitter account.
"Alam ko po ang sakripisyo at hirap na pinagdaanan ng mga nurse, mga nursing students at kanilang mga magulang at pamilya upang maitaguyod ang kanilang pag-aaral at propesyon. Hindi rin po lingid sa akin ang malaking tulong ng mga nurse dito sa Pilipinas at sa ibang bansa na nagta-trabaho nang lubos upang makatulong sa kanilang pamilya."
"Humihingi po ako ng pang-unawa sa kahat ng mga nasaktan sa aking sinabi. Wala po akong intensyong maliitin ang mga Filipino nurses."
Villar, wife of Sen. Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr., made a controversial remark during GMA News TV's "Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato" aired last February 23, saying nurses don't have to be a BS Nursing graduate because they only want to become room nurse. She eventually drew the ire of netizens, especially Filipino nurses.
Villar also sought a dialogue with the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and other nursing groups on healthcare reform agenda.
Addressed to PNA's governing board, officers, and staff, Villar said it was never her intention to belittle anyone, "least of all, the valiant members of the nursing profession."
She also appealed not to judge her based on a comment made under extreme time pressure. "It was really difficult to say everything I wanted to say about the problems confronting our nurses then and now within one minute and thirty seconds," she defended.
"I have such a high regard for nurses wherever they are assigned to serve, which is why I felt sad for not being able to offer a more comprehensive and complete answer," she said.
Villar also noted that the controversy even made her more enthusiastic in promoting the welfare of Filipino nurses. As early as May 2012, she was already advocating for a ladderized system of curriculum to help poor nursing students pass the nursing board.