As a private citizen and way before she became chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar has been very busy and active in implementing her own environmental programs (through Villar Sipag or Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) in her hometown, Las Piñas City.
Her livelihood projects have environmental component since all of them use wastes as raw materials: the water lily basket-weaving enterprise and the handmade paper factory; coconut husks for the coconet weaving enterprise and the charcoal-making factory; kitchen and garden wastes for the organic composting facility and plastic wastes for the plastic recycling factory that produces school chairs.
For the record, everything started in the lady senator’s hometown, Las Piñas, and now it’s all over the Philippines giving small businesses to many of our kababayan while helping many cities in their zero-waste goals.
For 13 years now, Villar gives credit to the once pesky water lilies that used to clog the Prinza River of Las Piñas and the community which continues to benefit from the livelihood program through the WaterLily Festival held every July 27 annually.
For two years now, Villar also commends the youth sector’s participants in the festival by coming up with unique and innovative solutions and undertakings to address poverty in impoverished communities.
“This makes the festival different from the past. More and more youth are joining the fight against poverty. I am grateful to all the participants for sharing their ideas with us. Villar Sipag will never waiver from its commitment to work with the youth for the betterment of our country,” Villar, director of Villar Sipag, told the BusinessMirror.
Yearly, the senator also spearheads The Las Piñas Food Festival in her quest to find a particular food which will surely best represent her city. On its fifth year, the festival is composed of culinary workshops and baranggay-wide annual cooking competition on May 18.
A nonstock, nonprofit organization, Villar Sipag gets its funding from the income it generates from the lessees in its commercial property which houses the Mushroom Burger, Jollibee, Coffee Project, All Day Supermarket, Hotel Mi Vida and others. In April this year, Villar personally opened her latest business venture—the Havana Club, a bar, restaurant and event place—within the area.
With the various developments and festivals in the city now attracting nearby cities, municipalities and provinces, the city which is known for its world-famous Bamboo Organ is surely stepping closer to achieving its dream of becoming tourism/culinary destinations and home of innovative ideas in this side of the country.