MANILA – Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago has found a new group to become part of after her Malasakit Movement Party-list was excluded from the official ballot for May 2022 polls.

Pialago said she is excited to become part of Frontliners Ang Bida Party-list -- No. 111 in the official ballot -- as it has the same principles and advocacies as her former group.

“Itutuloy po natin ang laban! Pero sa pagkakataong ito, ire-represent po natin ang Frontliners Ang Bida Party-list (The fight goes on but this time we will be representing Frontliners ang Bida Party-list)," she said.

She also thanked the group for their warm welcome to her, saying that she feels at home with them as they only have a unifying goal which is to help front-liners.

"No good things come to waste, hindi masasayang lahat ng naumpisahan natin dahil ipagpapatuloy natin dito sa (all we have started won’t go to waste as we will continue the same with the) Frontliners Ang Bida Partylist,” she said.

Banking on her experience in leading countless relief operations around the country during the pandemic, Pialago vowed to prioritize front-liners, especially the ones working at the grassroots when she filed her candidacy in October of last year.

She vowed to push for standard benefits for barangay representatives, kagawads, barangay tanods, social workers, volunteers, barangay health workers to improve their quality of life.

"Sa tatlong taong pag-iikot po namin upang mamigay ng relief at medical assistance, nagulat po akong malaman na wala palang health benefit, walang insurance benefits ang mga front-liners na nasa grassroot level (In the three years we have been bringing relief and medical aassistance around the country, it surprised me when I learned that front-liners in the grassroots level have no insurance and health benefits” Pialago said.

The former MMDA assistant secretary vowed to also work for the creation of healthcare centers in far-flung areas to end the woes of patients who have to travel very far to go to their town's health centers.

Pialago also wants the regional "disease detectives" or those working under Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Units (RESU) to get better hazard benefits.

“Although meron tayong Republic Act 11332, at may part dyan na dapat may funding ang RESU unfortunately hindi napasama ang RESU sa line item (we have RA 11332 which provides funding for RESU, unfortunately, it is not included in the line item) being released by DBM every year,” she said.

"Gusto ko na makatulong akong maprayoridad ito (I want to work on this priority),” she added.

Other frontline workers whose lives she seeks to improve are the ones she had worked with in MMDA.

“Traffic constables are also close to my heart, katulad ng pagmamalasakit ko sa kakulangan ng mga nasa RESU, nais ko din sanang maibalik ang hazard pay para sa mga traffic constables at kahit ang ating mga street sweepers, hindi din madali ang trabaho sa kalsada, nais ko lang silang bigyan ng dignidad ngunit ito ay may kaakibat ding trainings at proseso upang mapatunayan na sila ay karapat dapat (like my concern on the needs of those with RESU, I also want traffic constables’ hazard pay reinstated and even to our street sweepers whose work on the streets can sometimes be unsafe. I want them some dignity which will come through trainings to show that they also belong," Pialago added. (PR)