It has become almost standard practice: politicians plastering their names and faces on projects funded by taxpayers.
To counter this self-praise, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago filed a bill, now commonly referred to as “Anti-Epal Bill,” prohibiting public officials to affix their name or image to any signage on a proposed or ongoing public works project.
In the explanatory note of Senate Bill No. 1967, formally known as the “Anti-Signage of Public Works Act,” Santiago said that appending the names of officials on public works projects either funded or facilitated through their office is “unnecessary and highly unethical.”
She added that crediting individuals instead of the government on such projects promotes a culture of political patronage and corruption, and diminishes the concept of continuity of good governance.
Thus, the bill allows only signs and billboards that bear the name, image or logo of the local or national government agency handling the project.
Malacanang welcomes 'anti-epal' bill
Once the bill is enacted into law, any official violating the provisions may serve jail time from six months to a year and perpetual disqualification from public office.
According to a press statement by the Palace on Sunday, President Benigno Aquino III supports Santiago’s initiative as it follows the president’s stand against the common practice of most politicians.
“Aquino has always rejected the idea of having his name or photos printed on a billboard alongside a public-funded project unlike other politicians who even have their names plastered in local government-owned vehicles,” the statement said.
Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …