'Anti-epal' provision in 2021 national budget gets adopted

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2021 02:47 AM

Members of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) conduct a clean-up drive along Roosevelt Cor. San Francisco Del Monte Avenue in Quezon City. Manny Palmero/ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Public officials may find it harder now to claim credit after a provision prohibiting attachment of their names, pictures, logos, signatures or other kinds of appearance on projects funded by the 2021 national budget, was officially adopted.

Under the "anti-epal" provision which was adopted as General Provision No. 82 of the newly-signed 2021 budget, elected or appointed officials are barred from doing so on programs, activities, or other kinds projects funded by the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Epal is a Filipino slang for people who inappropriately present themselves in a situation or an event. 

"Taxpayers, not politicians, fund the projects and programs. Their names or photos have no place there," said Sen. Grace Poe, author of the provision.

"Public officials, whether elected or appointed, should not make it appear that their constituents owe them gratitude for the projects," she added.

Many public officials in the Philippines have been criticized for their appearances, in whatever form, on tax-funded projects.

Poe said labeling projects with their names paves the way for these officials to prematurely campaign for upcoming elections.

"Nakapaskil ang pangalan at litrato ng ibang politiko sa mga ambulansya, waiting shed, ultimo sa basurahan," she said.

(The names and images of other images are plastered on ambulances, waiting sheds, and even on trash cans.)

"Sa paggamit ng 2021 budget, bawal ang politikong epal. Tandaan natin, hindi natin pera ito, pera ito ng ating mga kababayan."

(In using the 2021 budget, inappropriate appearances of politicians are prohibited. We have to remember, this is not our money, but our citizens'.)

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