Public officials do not stand a chance of claiming credit for government projects, thanks to an “anti-epal” provision in the 2021 budget introduced by Senator Grace Poe.
“Taxpayers, not politicians, fund the projects and programs. Their names or photos have no place there,” Poe said.
“Public officials, whether elected or appointed, should not make it appear that their constituents owe them gratitude for the projects,” she stressed.
The “anti-epal” provision was adopted as General Provision No. 82 of the 2021 budget, which would prohibit the attachment of the name, visage, appearance, logo, signature or other analogous image of any public official, whether elected or appointed, on all programs, activities, projects or corresponding signage which are funded under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Poe made a similar amendment to the 2018 budget, which was also incorporated into the signed law.
The Filipino slang word “epal” usually refers to a person who inappropriately presents himself in a situation.
Through the years, the senator observed that it has become a practice for some public officials to have their names and faces plastered on projects intended for public use.
Poe said labelling projects with politicians’ names also paves the way for these officials to prematurely campaign for election or re-election all year-round using public funds.
“Nakapaskil ang pangalan at litrato ng ibang politiko sa mga ambulansya, waiting shed, ultimo sa basurahan,” Poe said.
“Sa paggamit ng 2021 budget, bawal ang politikong epal. Tandaan natin, hindi natin pera ito, pera ito ng ating mga kababayan,” she added.