Pacquiao wants ‘epal’ officials to stay out of government signages
Neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao wants Congress to pass a measure against “self-promoting or credit-grabbing” public officials, commonly associated to as “epal.”
On Tuesday, Pacquiao filed a Senate Bill No. 1535 that seeks to prohibit incumbent public officials from naming government projects after them.
“Over the years, elected or appointed public officials have been either appending their names on signage of public works and various government activities or label such projects after their names,” he said in the bill.
“Although these government projects are facilitated by their office, the fact remains that these are funded by the tax levied from Filipino people. In colloquial term, these public officials are referred to as ‘epal’ or credit-grabbers and attention seekers,” the senator said.
Pacquiao said this “unethical practice” has led the public to believe that the projects named after incumbent government officials were indeed sponsored by them “thus tolerating said officials to prematurely campaign for reelection and cultivate a culture of political patronage.”
“This bill seeks to uphold the honesty, integrity, and transparency to foster good governance in public service,” he said as he pressed for its swift passage in the Senate.
The proposed measure prohibits naming or identifying government projects after any government officials or other persons whose identity may in any manner be associated with said government officials except those as may be determined by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
It also prohibits the affixing of the name or image of any public officials to a signage announcing a proposed, ongoing, or existing public works projects as well as the installation of signage announcing the maintenance, rehabilitation, and construction of public works crediting and individual public officer or bearing his or her image for the maintenance, rehabilitation and construction of such public works.
Also under the measure, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were directed to remove within three months after the effectivity of the measure all existing signage announcing a proposed, ongoing, or existing public works projects and those announcing the maintenance, rehabilitation, and construction of a public works project bearing the name or image of an individual public officer.
Pacquiao’s bill proposes a fine of up to P1 million and one year imprisonment for any person who would violate the provisions of the measure.
Other lawmakers, including the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, also filed the same bill in the past Congresses. JPV
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