THE Philippines, an impoverished Southeast Asian nation of election-crazy people, is teeming with so-called “epal” politicians and public servants, who are mostly local government officials.
But these “highly-enterprising” public servants no longer stand a chance of claiming credit for government projects courtesy of a provision in the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
In proposing the insertion of the “anti-epal” provision in this year’s national budget, Senator Grace Poe said our taxpayers, not politicians, fund government projects and programs.
We share the view of Poe that government officials, whether elected or appointed, should not make it appear that their constituents owe them gratitude for the projects.
The provision prohibits attachment of the name, visage, appearance, logo, signature or other analogous image of any public official on all programs, activities, projects or corresponding signage, which are funded under the 2021 GAA.
In the Philippines, where elections are held every three years, it has become a practice for some government officials to have their names and pictures plastered on projects intended for public use.
Of course, we agree with the highly-articulate lady senator that the practice enables government officials to prematurely campaign for election or reelection all-year round using public funds.
“Nakapaskil (pa) ang pangalan at litrato ng ilang politiko sa mga ambulansya, waiting shed, ultimo sa basurahan,” she lamented.
In the view of some irate voters, the prohibition is timely since the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for next year’s presidential, congressional and local polls is set in October 2021.
Ang problema lang eh maipapatupad kaya ito sa buong bansa, lalo na sa mga liblib na pook?