Every time I see a billboard indicating the name and face of a government official on an infrastructure project being developed I don’t know whether to laugh hysterically or to start throwing big bulky things on it. Because what I want and need to see is not their big smiling faces but: (i) the cost of the project; (ii) the expected date of completion; (iii) its purpose; and, (iv) the government agency involved. At this point, I would like to commend the brilliant bill passed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago dubbed as the Anti-Epal Bill.
Currently undergoing deliberations, Santiago’s bill is formally entitled “An Act of Prohibiting Public Officers from Claiming Credit through Signage Announcing a Public Works Project”. I suppose this is one of the most sensible bills to have been passed this year! It deserves immediate passing into law.
But upon reading the complete text of the proposed bill, there seem to be four glaring epal circumstances that were left uncovered which I hope should also be included in the proposed bill that is rampantly being carried out by a lot of government offices:
- the names and hideous faces of public officials on ambulances and government-owned vehicles;
- the photos of rhinoceros-looking barangay captains on barangay clearances;
- the pathetic photos of mayors on business permits and licenses; and,
- the atrocious tarpaulins of government officials (of course with their obnoxious smiling faces) hanged along the streets to greet their constituents Happy Fiesta or Happy Valentines.
It is such a shame that such a dynamic, current and remarkable bill would actually come from a 66 year old senator. I’m a bit disappointed because I expected the much younger lawmakers to draft this kind of a bill. Or maybe these young and claims to be fresh and more sensible lawmakers have already been devoured by the old and corrupted epal system.
Now, I know that this bill will be very unpopular among government elected and appointed officials. So in case this will not turn into a law, may I suggest then that instead of just the face of the concerned politician, the signage must bare the picture of his/her whole family. With 70+ kids, just imagine how the photo of former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr. would look like.
Plis, plis, plis, only in the Pilipins…