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  • DPWH's Mark Villar On How He Keeps Daughter And Wife With Lupus Safe From COVID-19

    Strict safety measures are needed because his work requires him to be out of the house.
    by Kitty Elicay . Published Mar 25, 2021
  • One of working parents’ biggest fear in the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing home the virus to their family, despite following strict safety measures. This is what happened to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar when he tested positive for COVID-19 back in July 2020.

    In a Sandwich Session with SmartParenting.com.ph and other Summit Media editors, Sec. Villar revealed that his first instinct upon hearing the news was to go out of the house. That’s because his wife, Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, was diagnosed with lupus.

    Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar and daughter, Emma.
    PHOTO BY Stanley Ong

    “I was more worried about my wife and daughter than myself. Nung nakita ko ‘yung result, takbo ako agad sa labas ng bahay,” he tells Smart Parenting. “I didn’t want any possibility na mahawa siya sa’kin.”

    Sec. Villar admits his bout with COVID-19 “was a scary time for me. Kung ako lang, I asn’t so worried [about myself]. But I was more worried na baka mahawa ‘yung anak ko or si Em, that was the hardest part for me," he says.

    Thankfully, Sec. Villar was able to recover from the virus. It was also thanks to the loving care of his wife. “She was so diligent. Talagang may listahan siya ng gamot. Anything and everything that could possibly help, I was supplied with,” the secretary shared. “Maraming fruits and supplements.”

    “I was isolated completely, that was the most important. When I eat food, it’s brought to me, pero naka-disposable,” he adds.


    Sec. Villar shares that even before he tested positive, they already follow strict health measures in their home, because the nature of his work requires him to be out of the house. His wife is also immunocompromised and their only daughter, Emma, is just 5 years old.

    “Bago ka makapasok [ng bahay], especially the staff who work in the house, kailangan magpa-test muna, RT-PCR. And then, bago ako pumasok ng bahay, we have disinfecting mats so the shoes will be disinfected,” he explains.

    He also makes sure to take a shower and gargle after he gets home. Handwashing and the use of alcohol has also become second nature.

    “We take a lot of steps, but again, this virus is difficult to contain. We do our best. But with my job, I really have to go out, so I try my best to be careful,” he says.

    Click here to read Emmeline Aglipay-Villar's inspiring pregnancy journey despite being diagnosed with lupus.

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