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MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago / MMDA PIO

MMDA’s spokesperson defends Manila Bay project 

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Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago, a former beauty queen, defended the controversial Manila Bay “white sand” project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

She wrote on Facebook, “Bakit noong madumi ang Manila Bay wala ni isa ang nagmalasakit? Kahit na alam nating mas delikado sa kalusugan ang basura? Ngayong pinapaganda, lahat nangingialam? (When Manila Bay was still dirty, why was it that no one expressed concern? Even if we know that the garbage is more hazardous to health? Now that rehabilitation is undergoing, everyone wants to dip his hands into it?) Wow, a! Just wow!”

Pialago had a ready explanation for her rant.

She explained, “Magko-comment ako, kasi MMDA ang isa sa mga ahensya na araw-araw naglilinis ng basura ng mga balahurang Pinoy at mapanamantalang establisyemento [doon] (I’m just giving my comment as MMDA is one of the agencies involved in cleaning the garbage left there by some untidy Filipinos and establishments).”

She added, “30-45 trucks ng basura lang naman ang nakukuha namin noong wala pang rehabilitation sa Manila Bay (We haul at least 30-45 trucks of garbage from the area when rehabilitation of Manila Bay had not yet started).”

She didn’t stop there.

Pialago went on to reiterate, “2019 pa aprubado ang budget para diyan, huwag niyong ipilit na isinabay yan sa panahon ng pandemya (The budget was approved in 2019 so don’t say the project is being implemented at the height of the pandemic). Goodness!”

Not a few netizens applauded Pialago’s all-too blunt comment.

“Well said. It’s about time these critics hear the truth,” said one netizen.

Another one offered, “You are admirable for saying what is on the mind of many who believe the rehabilitation is justified. Don’t mind the critics, they won’t listen anyway.”

However, there are some who viewed Pialago’s rationalization absurd.

“The question is about priorities, ma’am,” said one irate Facebook user. “There’s a pandemic going on. Let’s be more sensitive to the plight of the people.”

Another took offense with Pialogo’s use of the term “balahurang mga Pinoy (untidy Filipinos).”

Said a kibitzer, “This balahurang Pinoy (untidy Filipino) is paying for your salary!”

Prior to this, several celebrities that include Alessandra De Rossi, Karen Davila, and Gretchen Ho also questioned the project.

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