THE “No More Epal Movement” launched its website on Thursday at De La Salle University Manila to help the Commission on Elections (Comelec) monitor campaign violations.
Similar to how people have submitted “epal” photos of politicians, the website encourages the public to submit photos of campaign violations by candidates.
In January, Comelec passed Resolution 9615, which “prohibits propaganda that include ‘any names, images, logos, brands, insignias, color motifs, initials, and other forms of identifiable graphical representations placed by incumbent officials on any public structures or places.’”
"Epalism goes beyond tarps and taking credit for projects funded by taxpayers' money. We recognize that these are just symptoms of greater problems in our politics and society. It's easy to talk about 'epalitics' because you see evidence of it on almost every street corner, especially now that the elections are drawing near,” said Betty Romero, No More Epal’s spokesperson.
The website will also give the public a chance to go further than simply submitting photos of campaign violations. They will also be given a chance to file a case against a candidate and testify before the Comelec.
The nomoreepal.org website will make it more accessible for citizens to file their complaints.
“If we begin to question ‘epalism’ which has been accepted as normal for so many years, than we can begin to question the different ways politics and elections are done in our nation and demand something better for our future. We are, at the core, a movement to empower the Filipino people to question and challenge things as they are, and then bring about needed change,” Romero added.
Additionally, the No More Epal website will be able to organize all the epal photos that were submitted to the organization’s Facebook page. It will sort the photos by name, number of epal activities, date submitted, region, town, or province.
“Aside from hoping nomoreepal.org will do the job it is designed for, I am also hoping that the website serves as a call to other geeks like myself to volunteer their skills to movements they believe in, and finally, become a showcase as to how easily available open source technology can be used to help worthwhile grassroots efforts such as this,” said Gary Mercado, nomoreepal.org’s website developer.
The launch was attended by artist/activist Mae Paner as her alter ego Congresswoman Juana Change, running for re-election in May, the No More Epal group, Comelec’s Education and Information Director James Jimenez, as well as different members of the DLSU community.
On their part, De La Salle University partnered with the No More Epal group to start forging a culture of vigilance among their students, which in turn will cause greater accountability and transparency among people in positions of power.
“Kung daig ng maagap ang masipag, daig ng Lasalyanong mapagbantay ang gumawa lang at naghihintay!” said Arnel Galgo, Advocacy Officer of COSCA in DLSU.
The No More Epal campaign was started in May 2012 by the No More Epal group, which consists of private citizens, individuals, and organizations like Dakila and the People Power Institute. (PR)