THE move by Sen. Chiz Escudero to cut down on the practice of naming government projects after the official who worked for their implementation is sound. His bill provides that no public official should claim or be given credit for any “erected infrastructure and any procurement” made out of public funds.
The object of Senate Bill 2187 is to stop a practice done even before the Philippines became a sovereign nation. I recall that when I was still in grade school, or was tagging along my public school teacher mom, I was already introduced to school structures with names like Gabaldon Building, Ybañez Building and the Sapitula Building. Sapitula was a relative who became director of the Bureau of Buildings.
Escudero’s move is therefore long in coming. But I feel that it will have a hard time overcoming opposition in the Senate.
Even our highways and town or city streets are being named after public officials and politicians as if doing so is something that lends a well-deserved honor to the memory of the officials concerned. Well, some officials may deserve to be honored.
But isn’t there an office in the government that keeps tab of the names of public streets, buildings, and other landmarks being named after people who deserved to be honored?
They are supposed to be emulated as role models by the nation’s youth, as well as by our country in general, as a way of recognizing exemplary deeds that lend honor to our country and people.
Hence, the Escudero bill needs to carefully define what it really wishes to accomplish. What he may have in mind is probably the unnecessary use of public funds by people in advance of their political plans. You see, some person would even name public toilets after them, if only to promote their politics.
In any case, the senator’s bill proposes to penalize violators with one year imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P1million depending upon the amount of the project involved. Thus, laying claim to a project done by the use of public funds, as if it is a personal accomplishment, will already be a crime.
But Chiz, as I said earlier, should clearly distinguish petty political claims of credit from a deserved recognition.