‘Anti-epal’ drive reaches new heights in Davao del Sur

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10:46 PM July 3rd, 2013

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July 3rd, 2013 10:46 PM

DIGOS CITY—The “anti-epal” campaign is bound to become a reality here even if no law has been passed yet to make it official.

“Epal” means scene stealer or attention-grabber.

Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista’s first official act when he assumed office on Monday is to ban the display of names or oversized photos of politicians on government buildings and vehicles.

Bautista also ordered the removal of the names of politicians—past or present—that are emblazoned on government buildings and vehicles.

He also said the names or images of elected officials on billboards announcing government projects would now be a “no no under my administration.”

“All government projects and vehicles should only bear the name of the town or village to which these were assigned,” he said.

“For example, if a gymnasium was built in Barangay Binaton (in this city), it should be named the Binaton Gym and nothing else,” he told reporters here.

Although he would not single out a politician, Bautista said it was lamentable that some officials made it appear in the past that the people of Davao del Sur owed projects to officials.

When Douglas Cagas was still governor, government-funded buildings or vehicles were emblazoned with “Cagas Cares,” or were named “Cagas Gym,” “Cagas Health Center,” among others.

“Putting their names or their images on government-funded buildings or vehicles would make it appear they spent their personal money on them,” Bautista said.

“No politician should claim or make an impression that they own these projects because it was funded by people’s money, by individuals who are paying taxes,” he said.

Bautista said he was heeding the ideals of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo—good governance, transparency and accountability.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who filed a bill prohibiting politicians from claiming credit for projects, described the practice of putting politicians’ names or faces on government projects as part of a “culture of political patronage and corruption, aside from it being pointless and highly unethical.”

In Kidapawan City, reelected North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said reconciliation tops her priority because only the cooperation of politicians would propel programs that would benefit the people of the province.

Acknowledging her limitations as governor, she also encouraged the people to participate in good governance efforts. Orlando Dinoy, Eldie Aguirre and Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao

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