THE House minority bloc opposed the order of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) removing signages bearing their names, including those of President Benigno Aquino III.
Members of the minority party met with Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson Monday, explaining to him that the billboards not only ensure transparency but also establish rapport with their constituents.
"It's a good gauge for our constituents to know whether we really have done something and where we put our Priority Development Assistance Fund. If the PNoy administration stops us from doing this, how will they know how we are using our PDAF?" said Representative Mitos Magsaysay (first district, Zambales).
"We have promises to keep and appointments to meet and it is essential that deliver on promises we made otherwise they would presume that nothing has happened so it's all part of communication," added Representative Augusto Syjuco Jr. (second district, Iloilo).
For his part, Representative Elmer Panotes (second district, Camarines Norte) said that other local government officials tend to own the project if there is no signage that has been put up.
He added that if the Aquino administration is serious in banning the names of politicians in billboards, then he should ask the legislative branch to pass a measure that would disallow all politicians -- from President down to barangay officials.
Representative Danilo Suarez (third district, Quezon) admitted that signages are sometimes used strategically by congressmen who will be seeking reelection, but quickly debunked that their bids would only be pursued if they are loved by their constituents regardless whether they have put up billboards or not.
"Indirectly, yes. It's a campaign if you're going to run for reelection," Suarez, a third-term lawmaker, told reporters.
Syjuco added that the DPWH should leave it up to the politicians already if they want to boast projects that they have initiated since the funds for putting up the billboards come from their own PDAF or pork barrel.
According to the members of the minority party, each billboard for a certain project costs P3,000 to P4,000 each.
"Sari-sariling diskarte yan. Wala naman sigurong masama kung lalagay mo yung pangalan mo o picture mo lalo na kung gwapo ka o maganda ka," Syjuco jokingly remarked.
The amount of the project and the name of the contractor might be left out from the billboard, the minority group said, because it will only attract revolutionary taxes from rebel groups.
The DPWH has earlier said that it will be imposing a ban on the practice of putting names or images of politicians on the signages of their projects.
Senator Francis Escudero earlier filed Senate Bill 2187 seeking to fine politicians for putting their names on signages announcing their projects. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)