Staying true to their promise to life Pinoys out of poverty, Senator Manny Villar and his wife Cynthia Villar, Chairman and Managing Director (respectively) of the Villar Foundation led the inauguration on December 13 of the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (SIPAG) on C-5 Road Extension on Pulang Lupa Uno in Las Pinas City.
There were a lot of VIPs spotted during the event, such as Senator Antonio Trillanes, Susan ‘Toots’ Ople, Gwen Pimentel, Col. Ariel Querubin, and Las Pinas Representative Mark Villar among many more. There was a festive atmosphere in the four-hectare SIPAG compound, which is very appropriate since it was also the birthday of Senator Villar. In his speech, the senator said the SIPAG center will serve as a concrete reminder of the Villar Foundation’s commitment to end poverty, even after they retire from politics. He will end his term in 2013. While his wife is running for senator in next year’s mid-term elections.
“We are serious about our goal to end poverty. It is not just a catch phrase for us, it is a serious campaign and this structure is a solid evidence of that. This will be a hub of our activities and actions for our impoverished countrymen. Our goal is that this center will also be instrumental in bringing about positive changes in people’s lives and the country as well,” cited Senator Manny Villar, who is also known as Mr. Sipag at Tiyaga, in reference to how he personally overcame poverty through hard work and persistence.
In her speech, Former Las Pinas Congresswoman Cynthia Villar said that SIPAG will be a living museum as it will be a center of actions, advocacies and activities to help impoverished Filipinos by providing livelihood trainings and seminars. She added that it is open to out-of-school youths, to the jobless, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their family members.
“Bakit SIPAG? Kami— si Senador Manny Villar at ang aming pamilya, ay naniniwala na ang kasipagan ay susi sa pag-ahon ng isang tao mula sa kahirapan. Sipag at tiyaga—iyan ang mga katangian na pinahahalagahan namin at naging malaking bahagi rin ng aming pag-angat sa buhay—personal man o publiko. ,” said Cynthia Villar, who is now popularly called as Misis Hanep Buhay because of her untiring efforts to provide livelihood opportunities to Filipinos nationwide. Her green social enterprises such as waterlily basket-weaving and coconet weaving are now providing livelihood to 500 families in Las Pinas. The Villar Foundation has also established more than a hundred pilot projects all over the country. Villar SIPAG Center will feature among others: Poverty Alleviation Museum, SIPAG Poverty Knowledge Management Center, Nacionalista Party Museum, Reception Hall, Mini-Theater, Offices, Archives and Training Rooms.
SIPAG Poverty Knowledge Management Center will serve as a library or resource center to collect, preserve, and make accessible to the public an array of reading and reference materials on poverty reduction, generation of livelihood, and entrepreneurship. It aims to cater to students of all ages, scholars, policymakers, journalists etc.
The Training Rooms will offer seminars, briefings and trainings on livelihood opportunities, entrepreneurial strategies, and other relevant and related topics for the womenfolk, the youth, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other marginalized sectors of the society. The Reception Hall will feature the memorabilia of Senator Manny and Cynthia Villar as well as other relevant exhibits on occasions. The Nacionalista Party Museum will exhibit memorabilia, photos, documents, among others, of the oldest political party of the country.
The Mini Theater will be the venue of conferences, symposia, and screening of video or performances tackling the issues of and related to poverty reduction. It will also be made available for use as venue of private gatherings.