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The anti-epal bill titled “An Act Prohibiting Public Officers from Claiming Credit Through Signage Announcing a Public Works Project” filed by Senator Miriam Santiago is telling that indeed there is an urgent need to rein in our shameless politicians. They have become callous in grabbing credit for government projects with their names and faces written and printed on billboards and streamers, stating that it was through their initiative that the project was made possible. Such uncivilized behavior that combines insecurity and hubris to project themselves into the limelight has become a nuisance. It is reflective of our deteriorated political system. The rat race to be remembered by their constituents for their “accomplishments” has sunk to the gutter level. They do not only pepper streets, plazas and public places with billboards, posters, and streamers. Mind you, they even engrave or carve their names, their initials and at times their faces in such conspicuous places as street signs, street islands, walls of schools, hospitals, police precincts, and even gates of public buildings. This new practice has become prurient much that seeing their names and faces only invokes immorality in public service. Desperate politicians even have their names painted on government vehicles, ambulance, fire tracks, police patrol cars, and even on business permit plates. Many shake their heads in disillusionment and frustration, for it seems nobody is minding that these clowns are in fact causing public irritation. Not one from the supposedly vigilant public has raised an objection to that insult to their intelligence and flagrant misuse of taxpayers’ money just to make them aware they are not sleeping on their job. For that matter, the use of public funds to increase their chances of being reelected is malversation, a crime worse than the prohibition set in the proposed anti-epal bill of Senator Santiago. There is personal gain in having politicians’ names and faces printed and posted while they go on with their systematic diversion of public funds. Millions of government funds are routinely wasted that if the Commission on Audit would just to its job, it could easily conclude the gravity of their malfeasance. It is
the huge amount of money spent to make the voters remember their names by the Pavlovian technique of name recall betrays their nature as incorrigibly corrupt. and to greet their constituents on the occasion of their fiesta. But that assumption of legitimacy is nowhere to be found by their . We are. While that sect does not compel them to exhibit their misplaced sense of fealty. This heathen form of fealty becomes doubly illegal because that amounts to subsidizing their campaign expenses. They also take every occasion to greet the public on Christmas Day. by any definition. the more discerning citizens look at them as pathetic victims of implied blackmail. This circumvention of the law to keep these politicians in power is so blatant. Valentine’s Day. After all. The huge amount set aside just to enhance their chances of being reelected is. Their duty is to use their coconuts to come out and propose sensible laws and ordinances. many of them were elected not to hold executive positions but to legislate laws and ordinances. Such impersonal but ludicrous way of greeting people is an intrusion to an occasion they are not supposed to butt in by campaigning in the guise of greeting them. a form of corruption.illegal because there is no law that grants politicians the right to spend public money just to advertise their names and their accomplishments. short of telling us just how stupid we are. some shameless and bootlicking politicians cram their streamers along Commonwealth Avenue or buy one whole page in leading broadsheets just to make sure the top hierarchy of the Iglesia ni Cristo would remember that they were not remiss in their duty to greet their executive minister on the occasion of his birthday or on the occasion of the church’s founding anniversary. In fact. The public is asking because this specific act of idiotic “epalism”. In fact. But as it is. has no relevance whatsoever to their desire in wanting to inform the public of their accomplishments. it is obvious that many of them tremble in fear of losing the solid votes of the members. being fried by our own lard. as one would put it. if one would like to put it that way. to congratulate graduating students at the end of every school year. New Year’s Day. Maybe we can give them the benefit of the doubt for advertising their names in the place where there is an on-going government project initiated by them.
Epal is a street word for "mapapel". 1967 is currently undergoing committee deliberation as of press time. let us just remind everyone that this is no laughing matter. Senate Bill No. the public now have their reservations whether the anti-epal bill of Senator Santiago will ever see the light of day. to append their names to public works projects which were either funded or facilitated through their office. scene stealers . whether elected or appointed. “It is a prevalent practice among public officers. According to Senator Santiago who authored the proposed bill. Before we start this article. The perks and the privileges of being an incumbent public official is so tempting to be taken for granted. which now have their own version of pork barrel. since our system of campaigning has been reduced to one of a fracas. Anti-Epal Bill is a serious proposal intended to change the country's corrupt political image. will join in opposing this bill.an extract from the bill's explanatory note. but also from the city and municipal councils.mostly used for persons who take credits for something they didn't deserve.vassalage act of paying homage using public funds just to increase their chances of getting the solid votes of that sect. The money and the power drive them crazy. Miriam Defensor . when Philippine President Benigno PNoy Noynoy AquinoIII fried abusive political personalities on his State of the Nation Address (SONA) through his Wang-Wang message. According to the proposed law. As said. the public officials have no rights to claim any credits from projects who was paid by tax payer's money. The nature of the law started last year. a Filipino term for attention grabbers. Anti-Epal Bill is a proposal by no other than Senator Miriam Santiago who targets politicians or any government officials who claim credits for projects funded Filipino taxes.Santiago's Anti-Epal bill is formally titled “An Act Prohibiting Public Officers from Claiming Credit through Signage Announcing a Public Works Project”. The pressure to reject the bill will not only come from her colleagues and from the lower house.” . violators will be facing six months to one year of jail term if proven guilty. Guilty means that any public official who puts his face or his . Barangay chairmen and their councils. It is on this basis that made many to believe that indeed we have gone to the dogs because what we see is a spectacle of “campaign cannibalism” at its worst.
the group generated more than 23. But thanks to social media. the Department of Public Works and Highways DPWH in coordination of interior department and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority MMDA will be given three months to remove all existing signages that violates the provision. epals are despicable and represent all that is bad about Filipino politicians. In my eyes and in the eyes of millions. decent citizen should be. regular folk now have a platform to express their disapproval. the public’s resentment of epals is unraveling (and spreading) like wildfire. baptism and funeral. However. A new Facebook group called “Anti-Epal” was created by Vincent Lazatin and Betty Romero last May. one that sends a signal to the youth that it is all right to be shameless in the political field. On Facebook and on Twitter. insinuating that such were built using their own funds. and so the epals went about their ways unabated. To the locals. Their ways are precisely the reason why politicos have very little credibility as lawmakers and are poor examples of what a responsible. Epals are opportunists of the most insidious kind. both with more than 30 million Filipino subscribers. It has spawned 102 similar . They perpetuate crass behavior unbecoming of a public servant. the public had no recourse but to swallow the brazen abuses of epals simply because no forum existed for them to voice out their discontent. They are the types who name public schools after themselves or their ancestors and display hideous banners of themselves in every town fiesta. They are politicos who plaster their names on newly built roads. they are called “Epals”. They are the characters who inscribe their initials on public structures. In just three months. These “public servants” expect to be credited for work they voluntarily run for office to do. Civil society’s silence was misconstrued as a stamp of approval. they circumvent the law by waging a campaign way ahead of the Comelec’s mandated campaign period. Local government all over the country will also be required to follow the law as mandated. If the proposed bill passed into a full-pledge law. For decades. bus shelters or basketball courts to ingratiate themselves to the voting public. MANILA.000 followers and is increasing by almost a thousand a day. They deceive the public by diminishing the role of the national government (from whom funds originate from) to amplify their own. Above all.plain name on any proposed or on-going government projects. name or logo of any local or national government agency or office that is handling the project. Philippines — Millions of taxpaying citizens are now speaking up against selfpromoting public officials who take undue credit for projects built with public funds. the Anti-Epal bill allows signs that bear the image.
serve them with utmost responsibility and integrity…” Hence. Romblon. the bill seeks to prohibit politicians from plastering their names and faces on public works projects like roads and bridges. past and present. along with millions of other concerned citizens. Two Sundays ago. thousands have joined in on the discussion. Celdran and Paner deserve our salute for taking responsibility and having the guts to demand for delicadeza in the political arena.k. Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte. Pangasinan. with its mayors. a public forum that encourages discussions on issues relating to unethical self-promotion. Still. Clearly. Others observed numerous epal banners brought down in the Kamuning area. Cavite. Juana Change). painting over floor tiles bearing the initials “HB” or Herbert Bautista.” (The city was named after Manual L. Cebu.” The bill stresses. will not hesitate to publicly shame abusive public officials if that’s what it takes to reclaim our cities back from them. . We hear that Councilor Vincent Belmonte was given the mockaward of Epal King for the sheer number of barangay pylons bearing his name still standing belligerently. The scale of public involvement is indicative of how the issue has festered in the minds and hearts of the Filipino. social activist Carlos Celdran and Mae Paner (a. a place they christened “The Epal Capital of the World.groups (per my last count) in provinces like Laguna. that “public office is public trust. Quezon. Since the discussion thread started. staged an Anti-Epal Protest in Quezon City. We should all follow their lead. Councilors Winnie Castelo and Dante De Guzman were close runner-ups. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado has initiated the hashtag #epalwatch. let me spell it out again…The public rejects Epals and Epalism will not hesitate to publicly shame offenders until the legislature passes a law that bans it altogether. On Twitter. with new ones from various provinces joining the fold everyday. The Celdran-Paner initiative aims to tell politicians that epalism is not acceptable and that civil society is taking a firm stand against it. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people. congressmen and counselors.” better known as the “Anti-Epal Bill. thousands of epal collaterals remain. Lazatin. along with Lazatin and Romero.a. For the many politicos that are too dense to care. with most expressing their long-repressed disgust. presumably from city hall. a wave of change has begun. among others. clogging its streets with brazen self-promotion). Senate Bill 1967 Senator Miriam Santiago has sponsored a bill in the upper house entitled “An Act Prohibiting Public Officers from Claiming Credit through Signages Announcing a Public Works Project. That they. Scroll through the many anti-Epal pages on Facebook and you’ll get an idea of the scale of public involvement. Dado. even while he was still alive! The tradition of epalism thrives in this poor city. The initiative must have worked as witnesses saw a group.
starting with the speaker himself. Unfortunately. whether on the local or national level. not the least of which is providing protective measures for local law enforcers who may have to face the ire of kingpins in their district. Senator Santiago justifies her bill by saying that grabbing undue credit for a project funded by government “fosters a culture of political patronage and corruption. unethical.” The bill is moving along in the upper house with more refinements being imputed to it.which were funded by the government. Senate Bill 1967 provides a jail term of between six months to one year for the offender. the bill is not progressing in the lower house at all. what they are doing is downright immoral. ambulances and fire trucks. . We. we must continue to expose and publicly shame epals because at the end of the day. No surprise. not because of their popularity. It also diminishes the concept of continuity in good governance in the mind of the public. Further hearings in the Senate also extended the ban to apply to police cars. must compel Congress to act on the Anti-Epal Bill through the various social media channels available to us. but because of their essential role in policy determination. The lower house is the cradle of the biggest epals in the land. indecent and not reflective of Filipino values. the public. But until such time that the legislature provides us with a law that bans epalism. It diminishes the importance that the public needs to place on supporting government officials.
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