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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Villafañe proposes to open new resident commissioner offices to enhance access to services

Sen. William Villafañe, a primary candidate for resident commissioner

By The Star Staff

Sen. William Villafañe, a primary candidate for resident commissioner, said Monday he will establish four district offices in various strategic points of the island, in addition to creating a mobile office, a virtual office and kiosks with service terminals to improve access to federal government services.

Villafañe said his proposal arises due to the “challenges in public transportation that make it difficult for the citizens of Puerto Rico to travel efficiently, particularly when they come from rural areas or municipalities distant from the metropolitan area.”

“This situation hinders citizens’ access to services and resources in the San Juan area,” he said.

The New Progressive Party senator added that “in emergency situations, such as the natural disasters we have experienced in the past, in which roads, streets and highways have been impacted by landslides and structural damage, leaving towns and communities inaccessible, these obstacles put the life and safety of our citizens and their property at risk, as they limit access to the services and aid that both the federal and state governments make available to them.”

Faced with these challenges, Villafañe proposes establishing district offices in the four cardinal points of the island, one for each congressional district that Puerto Rico would have under statehood, to provide easier and more convenient access to government services and resources. With those spaces, the Office of the Resident Commissioner would seek to bring the citizens closer, regardless of the municipality in which they reside, to assist them and achieve greater access to the services and resources of the state and federal government.

“The budget of the Resident Commissioner’s office in Washington, D.C. is limited, so to achieve this, we propose to collaborate with state government agencies and municipalities to share office spaces; in this way, we will be able to maximize the reach and effectiveness,” Villafañe said. “This collaboration will also allow us greater cooperation in providing services to citizens.”

“With our veterans and active military members in mind and recognizing that access to services, we also propose to offer services directly at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Hospital to provide personalized assistance to these citizens who have served and done so much to defend our freedom and our rights,” the candidate said.

Villafañe’s proposal includes a virtual office, which would be a platform for the resident commissioner and his team to hold meetings with constituents. This initiative, facilitated by technology, ensures the inclusion of citizens with physical limitations who cannot travel to an office. It allows them to access necessary services and resources from the comfort of their home, emphasizing the campaign’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Recognizing that there are communities that by their nature are distant from government centers, to serve citizens of more remote and difficult-to-reach communities, a mobile office will be established that the candidate said will be equipped with the necessary resources to provide a wide range of services, including assistance with federal and state government paperwork, information about federal programs and services, and the opportunity to meet with staff from the Office of the Resident Commissioner to address specific citizen concerns and needs.

Likewise, management kiosks will be installed during strategic dates to provide attention and services to places frequented by citizens, such as plazas, supermarkets and shopping centers, Villafañe said.


1 Comment

William Rosa
William Rosa
May 21

It seems that Sen William Villafane believes the Resident Commissioner's Office (RCO) have a real way to assist Puerto Rican in ways they have never been explored. His plan to establish 4 RCO offices in the four district that PR would have if one day it becomes a state, plus a mobile unit seek to provide the visibility that Office had never had. Eliminating several minor issues like an operational budget, specialized personnel, and physical space to operate from, his plan will provide accessibility to the services Puerto Ricans receives from the current RCO.

The question that Mr. Villafane's plan begs is, what are those services that he is promising to enhance with his plan. Let's take a look at…

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