MANILA, Philippines — Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago announced her departure from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday to take a shot at a seat in the House of Representatives under a party-list in next year’s polls.
Pialago said she will run as representative for the Malasakit Movement Partylist, which will “work for standard benefits of barangay representatives, kagawads, barangay tanod frontliners and barangay health workers.”
She said her departure from MMDA is effective October 1, Friday.
“Sila po ang mga less appreciated ngayong pandemic, sila po ay isa ring mga frontliners na bihira nating pasalamatan. Sa paglaban natin sa pandemya, akin pong nalaman na marami pa din po pala sa ating mga barangay tanod ang tumatanggap ng 300 pesos na allowance,” Pialago said.
(They are the less appreciated ones amid the pandemic, they are also frontliners who we rarely thank. In our fight against the pandemic, I’ve found that many of our barangay aides are only accepting P300 allowance.)
“Dahil dito gusto kong mabigyan ng dignidad ang isa sa mga frontliners ng ating pang araw-araw na buhay (Because of this, I want to give dignity to the frontliners in our daily lives),” she added.
Pialago initially served as media relations officer at the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) before she was appointed as MMDA spokesperson in September 2016.
Later, she was promoted to assistant secretary.
Pialago has been linked to controversies such as when she said last year that supporters of detained activist Reina Mae Nasino, whose child died of pneumonia, were turning her plight into a “drama serye” (television drama).
She later apologized to those who thought she was being “too insensitive” to the plight of mothers who lost a child, but said she “won’t apologize” for saying that Nasino deserved the over-the-top security detail accompanying her while attending the burial of her baby daughter.
In 2014, Pialago, a former beauty queen, also trended online after her blunder that a fellow Miss Earth Philippines candidate, who fainted, “passed away” instead of merely “passing out.”
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