Anti-Epal Bill

” Let us support Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s ANTI-EPAL BILL!!! Itigil ang pag display ng mukha at initials ng mga pulitiko sa pader, sa poste, sa government service, sa business permit, sa plaka ng mga sasakyan, sa sapatos ng mga taga public schools, sa notebook, sa folders, sa envelopes at sa building permit. Hindi nila pera ang ginagastos para sa mga proyektong pambayan!!! “

Credit belongs to the taxpayers, so take those billboards with your big smiling face somewhere else.

This, in essence, is the message of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago in Senate Bill No. 1967, her version of what the man in the street would call an “anti-epal” measure, as it is directed at politicians or bureaucrats who claim credit for projects built with public funds.

“Epal” is slang for “mapapel,” a Filipino term for attention grabbers, scene stealers, or people who crave a role (papel) in affairs that are not necessarily theirs to handle or decide.

The term originated from the streets to become a buzzword in political circles especially last year, when President Benigno Aquino III initiated a shame campaign against such annoying public officials.

Currently undergoing committee deliberations, Santiago’s “anti-epal” bill is formally titled “An Act Prohibiting Public Officers from Claiming Credit through Signage Announcing a Public Works Project.”

The senator maintained that public officials have no business claiming credit for projects funded by taxpayers’ money.

“It is a prevalent practice among public officers, whether elected or appointed, to append their names to public works projects which were either funded or facilitated through their office,” she said in the bill’s explanatory note.

“This is unnecessary and highly unethical” and “promotes a culture of political patronage and corruption,” said Santiago, who is also busy campaigning for a seat as judge in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The bill imposes a jail term of between six months and one year on a public official who would have his or her name or image printed on a “signage announcing a proposed or ongoing public works project.”

The prohibition also applies to existing government projects that are undergoing maintenance or rehabilitation.

The bill only allows signs that bear the name, image or logo of the local or national government agency handling the project.

Santiago said allowing incumbents or appointees to grab undue credit “diminishes the importance that the public needs to place on supporting government officials, not because of their popularity, but because of their essential role in policy determination, whether on the local or national level.”

“Secondly, it diminishes the concept of continuity in good governance in the mind of the public,” she said.

If the bill gets passed into law, the Department of Public Works and Highways, in coordination with the interior department and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, has three months from the day of the law’s effectivity to remove “all existing signages” that violate its provisions.

Let us support the Anti-Epal Bill !


Last Note/Huling Hirit:

What about the Kapalmuks?

You will see the names and faces of the Kapalmuks (Makapal ang Mukha) : at government buildings, city facilities, overpass, underpass, greeting tarps, lamp posts, benches, plant boxes, fire trucks, ambulance and waiting sheds. They have their names on everything except for the urinals.

Kapalmuks of course are the masters of shameless self-promotion. They find it an effective and inexpensive means of obtaining free publicity for the next election.

Maybe it isn’t illegal but is it ethical?

Not only that, they are also using the walls of business establishments their personal profile graffiti wall via business license plates which are required to be displayed in public.

Is there really a need to include their grinning profile photos on business license plates?

DTI or related government agencies should stop this like the MMDA ban on vanity plates.

Why not just help our dying tourism industry by putting pictures of major attraction of the city, a delicacy or maybe anything of historical value.

“Aquino has always rejected the idea of having his name or photos printed on a billboard alongside a public-funded project unlike other politicians who even have their names plastered in local government-owned vehicles” – Malacanang

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