Press Release
May 25, 2017

Transcript of Interview with Sen. Cynthia Villar
The Source of CNN hosted by Pinky Webb
(Martial law, passport 10-year extension, Work from home)

Pinky: What is your stand on the President's declaration of martial law?

Villar: I will support the President. Its just that we're asking the office to give us an update on what's happening in Mindanao because he knows better than you. Because he has all the intelligence report, he has the man in the field. So on Monday we're asking the Office of the President to give us a briefing on what's happening in Mindanao.

Pinky: Is this your call to invite some of the President's members of the cabinet such as Gen. Año,

Villar: Whoever the President will send to us on Monday. We will have a caucus and we will hear the report.

Pinky: Who are the most important men you think should be able to brief the Senators on the situation in Mindanao?

Villar: Maybe the AFP head, but I think he will be in Mindanao to oversee the operation. So maybe, I don't know, they will send a representative who is very knowledgeable about the report.

Pinky: It's just really important for you senator, to be able to find out what's happening on the ground.

Villar: Of course, because we are supporting martial law, so we should know what's happening there that will warrant martial law.

Pinky: Does the President need Congress approval for the declaration of martial law?

Villar: No. He can declare it but we can revoke it. Actually I don't think there's some move to revoke it, they want to know what's happening.

Pinky: Senator, the President described and lay down the reasons for him declaring, martial law. Sec. Abella calls it rebellion I believe, for the reasons for martial law in Mindanao. Do you think what's happening in Marawi City or even in some parts of the Southern Philippines, tantamount to rebellion?

Villar: They are bringing up their flags. So, they are using another flag, not the flag of the Philippines. What do you think is that? They are saying that they are in control of a certain place which is not allowed in our constitution.

Pinky: I guess I wanted to bring that up because Atty. Christian Monsod who drafted the 1987 constitution clearly defined what a rebellion was based on the law. And basically a practical description for it is some group probably taking up arms and there is the threat of the commander in chief not being able to perform his functions. He says that, because the military men are saying the situation is under control.

Villar: Of course they will say that because they don't want the people to panic. But they know the reason. So I think there's a reason and we don't know about it.

Pinky: So it's clear to you what happened in Marawi is rebellion?

Villar: Considering that there was bombing in Davao City, which is attributed to the Maute Gang also. There was something in Bohol. And there was something in other places in Mindanao. I think the President is afraid that this will go over Mindanao. So it's better to nip it before it becomes too much.

Pinky: Nip it in the bud. The President, you already mentioned that he wants to nip it in the bud. Now he's talking about a possible declaration of martial law in the Visayas and even Senator, in Luzon. Let's listen to what exactly the President's said. This happened again yesterday upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from his trip from Russia. (Showing video of President Duterte arrival in NAIA)

Villar: I think if he thinks, they said that the one which happened in the US embassy is, ang kanilang thinking is Maute din yun, yung try to bomb the US embassy. But I think he will limit it in Mindanao.

Pinky: Is that something, it's that a cause for concern for you what the President said, he might declare it in Visayas, and he might declare it inLuzon.

Villar: I think he's saying that so that these people will think twice about doing something.

Pinky: Okay. So, very clear. You support the President. And I guess in a way it's taken with a grain of salt with situation..

Villar: In the Senate it's like that, the majority of the senators supports him.

Pinky: So the President won't have a problem with that. Of course the senator's telling us that on Monday, you need to be able to call some of the key officials to give you an update on what's happening on the ground.

Pinky: Sen. Cynthia Villar has other bills. Two of them quite talked about, they've been passed in 3rd and final reading. The extended passport from 5 to 10 years. Except for those, just to be clear, under 18 years old?

Villar: Yes, and below.

Pinky: Is it 18 and below?

Villar: No. Under 18.

Pinky: Under 18 years old. They still have 5 years. This passed in the third and final reading in the house?

Villar: Yes.

Pinky: And in the senate?

Villar: Yes, in the senate. And we had a bicam and it's going to the President for signature.

Pinky: Is the bicam finished?

Villar: Yes. Because we have to, after doing the bicam you go back to the floor and have it approved on the floor.

Pinky: It's been approved?

Villar: Yes.

Pinky: Were there points, the different points from the House and the senate that needed some sort of compromise?

Villar: No. It's a very simple bill. It's just extending the validity of passport to 10 years. Very very simple. And then those below 18, we'll have to do it within 5 years because of the change in the faces, so they want to update the picture. If you're young, there is a possibility that you change your looks.

Pinky: And senator, it also very good for all of us, because you don't have to go through the hassle of having to renew your passport.

Villar. Yes. And it is a practice in most countries in the world so it's not something different.

Pinky: And it also is very beneficial to our OFWs?

Villar. Of course. Because they are the majority who are getting passports. And it's very difficult for them to do so, every so often. Remember, the 5 year validity it's not really 5 years, you have to get 4 ½ years before, because if it's only 6 months, they don't allow you to use it anymore. Pinky: What happens to those like, I'll use myself as an example, My passport is still valid, (once the President signs this) Can I get a passport in the next couple of months?

Villar: No. Use it first. Because if everyone is going to do that, then we will have a problem with a lot of application. We're doing this because the DFA is having a hard time handling it. There is a 30% growth now of people getting passport every year. And they don't want to be hassled with too many because you will see stories that they are in the pavement waiting for their appointment and so fort. We want to remove this.

Pinky: And sometimes, even outside malls.

Villar: Yes.

Pinky: So atleast that will help a lot of people and even DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano because he visited the passport center alongMacapagal Avenue and he wants that expedited as well.

Villar: We're doing this because we're making life simple for people. Like there is a move also in Congress to extend the validity of driver's license so there will be from 3 years to 5 to 10 years. They haven't decided yet if it's 5 or 10 but there'a move also.

Pinky: So that will just be up for, will just going to wait the signature of President Duterte on this.

Villar: Yes.

Pinky: Also you have the work from home bill?

Villar: Yes. Telecommuting.

Pinky: Can you tell us more about this, Senator?

Villar: It is a labor law. It's just that Department of Labor wants that the privileges of the employees in a normal workplace will be the same as those working at home. That's the essence of the law.

Pinky: So, if those regular employees have SSS, Philhealth, those working from home should also have?

Villar; Yes. Same privileges.

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