Government supports Santiago's 'anti-epal' bill-A A +A
Sunday, November 6, 2011
MALACANANG on Sunday expressed support for Senator Miriam Santiago's "anti-epal" measure, which targets public officials who claim credit for projects funded by taxpayer's money.
"It's a very welcome initiative from Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview.
The anti-epal bill is formally titled "An Act Prohibiting Public Officers from Claiming Credit through Signage Announcing a Public Works Project."
Epal is a street word for "mapapel", a Filipino term for attention grabbers or scene stealers.
Valte said it has always been a practice of President Benigno Aquino III not to put his name or photo in billboards and tarpaulins to announce a project.
"If you remember, si Pangulong Aquino din po mayroon siyang policy na ayaw po niyang nilalagay 'yung kanyang photo doon po sa mga proyekto. The President was very clear on that early on," she said.
Santiago said it is a common practice among public officers, whether elected or appointed, to display their names to public works projects which were either funded or facilitated through their office.
She said this practice "is unnecessary and highly unethical" and "promotes a culture of political patronage and corruption."
Santiago's bill imposes a jail term of between six months and one year on a public official who would will be proven guilty of placing his image or name on ongoing public works project.
The proposed measure only allows signs that bear the image, name or logo of any local or national government agency or office that is handling the project.
Several opposition lawmakers earlier opposed the idea of not putting names and faces on billboard of government projects noting that they need it for re-election purposes. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)