Quantcast
Latest Stories

Belmonte defends ‘epal’ lawmakers: Billboards are OK

By

Don’t rush to judgment when you see a billboard from an “epal” (one who loves to take credit, publicity) rising on your street.

The appeal came from no less than Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. who apparently believes it’s actually a good thing for politicians to put up street signs identifying public projects they have funded.

What Belmonte considers an epal, or being an epal, is putting one’s name on a project or projects where he has no involvement at all.

“Epal or not, it’s better for people to know where you put your money,” Belmonte told reporters on Tuesday, using a slang that describes credit-grabbers or people desperate for attention.

A Filipino slang, the word “epal” has also been described as referring to someone who unnecessarily butts into a conversation.

Need to inform

With the congressional pork barrel under a cloud of suspicion, it’s actually a good thing for lawmakers to put up signs identifying the projects they have funded, according to Belmonte.

He said it would be better for people to know where the lawmakers had channeled the public funds that had been placed at their disposal. That would also help citizens become more informed.

“I mean, right now everybody talks about anti-epal. But there’s also a necessity to inform the people, the constituents, where their money goes,” he said.

Still, he said there should be limits on the number or size of signs lawmakers can put up. A small sign saying where the project comes from would suffice, he said.

Controversial PDAF

Belmonte made the statements while explaining how lawmakers may still identify infrastructure projects for their respective districts now that the P25-billion lump sum allocation for their pork barrel—or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)—has been removed from the budget.

The PDAF has been rechanneled to six departments, including the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Lawmakers can still propose projects but would have to identify these early and include these in the DPWH budget as a line item.

Gone is the practice whereby lawmakers could choose to fund road and building constructions anytime they wanted.

Anti-epal crusade

This new process is touted to be more transparent since every project would be included in the budget and could be scrutinized.

“I think the days of yore when you have a road leading to your own farm are gone,” Belmonte said.

The House of Representatives has decided to scrap the PDAF following disclosures about a scheme where lawmakers and their cohorts supposedly pocketed these funds by channeling them to fake nongovernment organizations.

The controversy has ignited public outrage against lawmakers and sparked calls for an end to the discretionary funds, which critics said were used for political patronage.

An “anti-epal” crusade has also started among citizens tired of seeing the names and faces of politicians plastered on buildings, vehicles and banners, especially in the days leading up to the midterm elections in May.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: billboards , Congress , congressmen , epal lawmakers , Feliciano Belmonte Jr. , Philippines




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • 2 contractors fined P25,000 for delays in Edsa rehab
  • Luisita beneficiaries take over renters
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • 10 essential summer skin savers
  • Here’s your visual guide to all things cool, hot in summer fashion
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement