She may have very distinguished parents in former Senate Persident Manny Villar and Senator Cynthia Villar, trailblazers for siblings in Senator Mark Villar and Vista Land President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paolo Villar, but Las Pinas City lone district Rep. Camille Villar isn’t under their shadows.
Given the task of deputy speaker in the House of Representatives for two Congresses now, Camille has shone brightly and proven that even in a family full of achievers, one can still come into her own–even its unica hija.
Camille obtained her MBA from IESE (Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa) Business School in Barcelona, Spain, one of the world’s best business schools, and studied Business Management at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Only 38 years old, her strong entrepreneurial mindset is matched only by her caring heart as a public servant, having been elected as Las Pinas City congresswoman twice since 2019.
In the celebration of International Women’s Month this March, we highlight the many achievements of young Camille as a way to show exactly just how successful a Filipino woman can be.
Survey-topper, Stevie Award winner
Most recently, Camille topped alongside two male House members a survey on job performance ratings of district representatives in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Results of the survey conducted by the RP-Mission and Development Foundation, Inc. (RPMD) between Feb. 25 and March 8 showed Camille at the top spot with a lofty 92.3 percent rating. She described the survey results as “inspiring”.
Thanks to her various efforts in promoting public welfare during the pandemic, Camille was named “Government Hero of the Year” by the prestigious Stevie Awards for Women in Business in Las Vegas, USA in 2022. She was feted under the Covid-19 response category for her remarkable work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Camille also bagged the Silver Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand for her expertise as President and CEO of AllValue Group, the retail arm of the Villar Group of Companies, as well as the firm’s significant contribution to the community during the pandemic.
The Stevie Awards also recognized AllHome Builds and bestowed the Bronze Award for Community-Involvement Program of the Year for Women-owned or Women-led Organizations.
Camille thanked the Stevie Award judges for the important recognitions, and paid tribute to those behind the Villar brands—especially women employees and female executives who were with her in ensuring the success of the Villar Group’s retail brands.
Public servant by heart
Camille has been able to prove her worth in public service, presenting an impressive report card that emphasizes service to the people. She is currently on her second term as congresswoman
Camille has committed to focus her advocacies on education and the welfare of women and children. Introduced to adversities faced by different communities at a young age, she strongly believes that the empowerment of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is the path toward poverty alleviation.
Manifesting her soft heart for the MSME sector as an important driver of the Philippine economy and a major contributor for the country’s growing labor force, she advocates for the growth of small entrepreneurs in the House of Representatives and in her private life as the top executive of AllValue Group.
She inherited her love of public service from her parents, who started the Villar Foundation. For years now, the foundation has been helping uplift people from poverty through livelihood programs, trainings, education and market support.
Helping hard-hit MSMEs
Camille has actively participated in the discussion of relevant legislation that would provide increased government loan funds for pandemic-hit MSMEs, including the Bayanihan Law and other policies strengthening the Small Business Corp.
She also authored a bill that mandates entrepreneurship to be taught as a separate subject in the K-12 program in public and private secondary schools nationwide.
With the new generation becoming “the most entrepreneurial generation ever,” she knew that introducing entrepreneurship at a young age would pave the way for more startups that will help shape brighter prospects for the country and thereafter allow the domestic economy to flourish.
Camille principally authored a law increasing the bed capacity of the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center to 500 from the current 200.
Construction for the new hospital building, which sits on a 1,500-square meter (sqm) property just beside the hospital, is ongoing. It is expected to be completed soon for the benefit of her constituents and nearby localities.
Republic Act (RA) No.11497, signed into law on Nov. 13, 2020, allowed for the increased the bed capacity as well as upgrades the hospital’s professional health care services and facilities. Its workforce, which includes doctors, nurses and support staff, shall also be increased. The 12-storey new hospital building will include the provision of 300 additional beds, as well as much-needed health care services and facilities, and state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
The lady lawmaker noted that the initiative was made in response to the pandemic which “put a lot of strain” on health systems. She further described the law as a “crucial aspect in our Covid-19 response and enables us to be more equipped in case of a resurgence while maintaining the urgent care and treatment of patients with other illnesses”.
Walking the extra mile for constituents amid Covid-19
Consistent with the efforts to increase vaccine uptake, Camille launched in mid-2021 a vaccine incentive program dubbed “May Bahay sa Bakuna”. This effectively helped increase vaccine coverage in Las Piñas as vaccinated residents were given non-monetary benefits such as a brand new house-and-lot package, motorcycles, and grocery items, among others.
This resulted to Las Piñas gaining various vaccine milestones as well as the distinction of achieving herd immunity early on.
Staying true to her advocacy caring for her constituents, Camille distributed personal protective equipment, “ayuda” or financial assistance, and ramped up the city’s health infrastructure by installing modular hospitals, isolation centers, and mega vaccination hubs during the difficult pandemic.
Camille also co-authored along with several other legislators the proposed Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) Act, which is envisioned to be a game-changer in how the Philippines deals with emerging diseases.
In line with this, she urged Filipino experts working abroad to help establish the proposed agency, stressing that she would ensure that “competitive compensation and incentives” would be extended to “Balik Scientists” or returning scientists who would sign up with the VIP.
Backing PH’s Oscar dream
Camille, who had a previous experience in showbiz, has also been eyeing state assistance to filmmakers vying for the coveted Oscars. The country has a vast pool of talented actors and filmmakers worthy of an international award-giving body nod, Camille believes, and getting much-needed boost by way of financial backing on the road to the Oscars would be a big deal.
Through House Resolution (HR) No.451, the lady solon wants to reinvigorate the Philippine cinema industry and prepare them for the international arena by creating a seed fund to support the government’s Oscars Assistance Program. This is intended for the development and marketing campaigns of world-class Filipino films, with the end goal of landing them screening in the United States (US).
In this regard, there is some momentum with the recognition of Filipino actress Dolly de Leon in various prestigious international film festivals for her role in “Triangle of Sadness”. Camille said this should provide an impetus for the government to continue supporting filmmakers for an Oscar pick.
Securing a nomination or even a shortlist would translate to more jobs and livelihood opportunities for Filipinos, she pointed out.
Financial aid for fresh graduates
Camille also filed a measure that would provide a one-time, P5,000 financial assistance to fresh graduates as a way help them with their expenses as they go out to secure their first job.
Camille likened the measure to “investing in the future” since it would give Filipino youth a start up fund of sorts.
In justifying the bill, she said fresh graduates find themselves “at a loss on how to fund for employment application prospects—the continuously increasing transportation fare and the difficulty of commuting, preparing a decent work wear, printing tons of biodata or curriculum vitae, and other expenses needed when one applies for a job”.
To avail of the proposed cash aid, a copy of diploma or any valid proof of graduation issued by the educational institution shall be presented to the government agency or local government unit concerned.