By Cathrina Maulion and Elsie Delfin
Less than three months before the midterm elections, Filipinos are now more critical to politicians’ actions.
Anti-Epal campaign started when concerned citizens used the social media to expose epal politicians.
Epal, which came from the word mapapel, refers to public servants putting their names and faces on different government properties and projects.
Concerned citizens posted photos of different infrastructures, vehicles, lamp posts, sidewalks, relief goods, and posters where politicians plaster their names and faces just to say that they were the ones who initiated the project. Since then, more people started to submit and share photos of different posters in different platforms.
“For some, elections have become a popularity contest, and to them, in order to be popular you have to put your name and face everywhere. Some politicians are just desperate to be known so they promote themselves this way,” said UP student Josser Ferreras.
People said that politicians do these things to make their constituents know that they are doing their jobs. People also see these as means to the politicians to show their concern to the community, but in reality, they don’t care that much. However, some said that these posters are helpful. According to them, these will be one of their bases on who to vote.
People also observed that epal posters are even more hideous before and during campaign season. Posters and tarpaulin greetings of “Merry Christmas,” “Happy New Year,” “Happy Chinese New Year,” and even “Happy Valentines’ day” with the politicians’ faces were hung on electric wires and glued to walls and posts. Sometimes, posters also feature the government officials’ spouses and children in the posters to show that they have tight and happy families.
When asked if she was in favor of these kinds of publicity, Tess, a vendor, said, “No, because when heavy rain pours, those posters will just clog the drainages”
Rhys Viray, UP Diliman student said, “No, because the money spent to build those structures isn’t from the politicians. It’s the money of the taxpayers.”
Most said that these posters are just a waste of money. They also consider them an eyesore. People also think that it is unfair for the other candidates, especially the ones who have not enough money for the campaign.
Presently, putting up epal posters is a crime. Commision on Audit (COA) chair Maria Grace Pulido-Tan signed Circular No. 2013-004 on Jan. 30, 2013, making epaliticians unlawful.
New rules in making the public know the government’s projects and initiatives stated that it is unnecessary to put faces, logos, or any sign of the official in charge of the project. This rule applies to posters and tarpaulins for infrastructures, government vehicles like ambulances and police cars, tarpaulins for social services like dental missions, sports events or feeding programs, and other things the government gives to people like t-shirts, ballpens, shoes, etc.
Photos are from http://epalwatch.com/