Published from http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/opinion/columnist1/16411-cynthia-villar-a-weaver-of-dreams-and-success
Friday, February 03, 2012 00:00
FOR many years, the water hyacinths, a perennial aquatic herb and one of the fastest growing plants known, caused a variety of problems for Las Piñas.
Every time it rained, the Las Piñas and Zapote Rivers overflowed as the rapid mat-like proliferation of this unwanted plant blocked and clogged waterways.
However, with her combined business savvy and political clout, former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, better half of Sen. Manny Villar, helped solve the problem and transformed the problematic plant into a livelihood project for her constituents.
The solution is, which seemed quite imaginable before, use the water hyacinths’ stem, dry it, take its fibre to form strands of strings, weave it to form a braid or cord and, presto, you can now make bags, footwear, wreaths, hats, vases, Christmas lanterns, and other decorative materials.
Because water hyacinths are prolific and abundant despite being a nuisance, the people could earn much money by selling their end-products for a living while cleaning up the overpopulated bodies of water that are full of this plant.
But that was nearly a decade ago. Mrs. Villar has successfully converted the once nagging problem into a big opportunity for livelihood — especially by the poor — that is now picking up in the international market.
What vision! What ingenuity!
Well, coming from a person like Villar, it is no wonder.
An avid plant lover, a meticulous worker, with a flair for handling day-to-day operations, she worked hard for her advocacies during the whole time she served in Congress with the end in view of helping women become healthy and financially sufficient as well as protect the environment.
Villar was recognized for her invaluable contributions to her home city and country as a legislator, a successful entrepreneur, leader, environmental advocate, and exemplary citizen.
Renowned as the “one-woman army of Las Piñas,” Villar’s social and civic concerns are wide and varied.
She helped establish the Villar Foundation which has won various prestigious awards for its tree-planting for a drug-free Las Piñas and “Manpower on Wheels,” a mobile livelihood program providing training in employable skills.
Recently, the Villar Foundation’s river rehabilitation and social enterprise, “Sagip Ilog” program, bagged the “Best Water Management Practices” Award given by the United Nation to support the International Decade for Action – the “Water for Life” UN Water Decade Program.
As congresswoman, Villar’s projects have focused on the environment and livelihood for her constituents, notably the womenfolk, because she believes that they should have financial independence.
People who are close to her have told me how Villar is so naturally lovable and gracious. But beneath all that gentleness, one can sense she is a woman of power and intellect.
She exudes leadership qualities as well.
That was why people in Las Pinas listen to her when she says and decides “this one is good for you,” or “this is bad to the environment let us do something to change it.”
People do readily stand up to follow her instructions because they see her as their good leader.
Because they know that she goes through every length to give them a better life and a source of income for their respective families.
For instance, it has been told that she found an expert weaver from Abra who was willing to teach housewives how to weave blankets. Henceforth, people in Las Pinas have started producing beautiful blankets from the hand-weaving looms distributed in several barangays, courtesy of Villar herself.
Well, Villar, as a good weaver herself, is likewise a weaver of dreams and — a weaver of success.