Who’s the most epal of them all?
In Quezon City, where the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority recently began tearing down promotional materials put up in the streets by politicians running in the May elections, a total of 383 streamers were confiscated in just one day.
The number was mere crumbs compared to what awaits MMDA’s Task Force Baklas Billboards in the rest of the metropolis.
The campaign enforces the Commission on Elections’ directive against illegal campaign materials. It initially targets national roads, but Wednesday’s operations in Quezon City marked the first time it covered secondary roads in the capital.
After its opening run in QC’s First District, the task force showed the Inquirer a list of local politicians whose faces appeared in most of the streamers confiscated.
High on the list were Fermin Bilaos (76 streamers); Boy Calalay (67); Vincent Crisologo (33); Victor Ferrer Jr. (26); and Joseph Juico (23).
The other personalities on the list were Alex Herrera (22 streamers); Linda Madrilejo (22); Bernadette Herrera-Dy (21); RJ Belmonte (12); Von Yalong (8); and Dorothy and Elizabeth Delarmente (7).
So-called epal politicians who use all sorts of excuses and occasions to put up streamers and posters in the streets have been the subject of media and Internet bashing since last year. Epal is Filipino slang for someone who is mapapel or an attention grabber.
MMDA special operations chief Ed Lara said the task force also serves as a cleanup drive to rid the streets of potential hazards.
He cited streamers attached to electric cables and lampposts, or those that have rocks serving as weights to keep the streamers from rolling or folding out of place in the wind. Lara also recalled instances where the rocks fell and hit the windshield of passing cars.
Lara said the task force started in Quezon City’s District 1 at the request of Mayor Herbert Bautista.
He noted that some streamers in the area were put up to greet the people on their fiesta—a week before the feast day.
“In my opinion, it’s acceptable for officials to post greetings, but perhaps a day before the occasion,” Lara said, adding that the task force received positive feedback from the residents and motorists who saw the streamers being removed.