The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday strictly banned politicians from attaching their  name, image, and photo in the distribution of financial assistance to residents in the NCR Plus bubble which are covered by Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

“The use of the ayuda for partisan political purposes for the 2022 national elections is strictly prohibited,” said DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the release of P22.9 billion for residents placed under ECQ

The DILG and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) issued guidelines in distributing the financial assistance where violators shall be held liable under Section 82 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2021.  The “anti-epal” provision prohibits politicians and any public official from attaching their names, pictures, logos, signatures or other kinds of appearance on projects funded by the national budget to make it appear that they funded the project.  The provision was introduced by Sen. Grace Poe and has been adopted earlier this year.

Epal is a Filipino slang for someone who inappropriately presents himself in a situation or butts into a conversation.

Malaya said the public may file complaints with the nearest DILG field office together with evidence that will support the complaint.

“We will make sure that the funds downloaded to the LGUs are used for purposes they were intended for,” he said.

“Public officials, whether elected or appointed, should not make it appear that their constituents owe them gratitude for the projects,” Poe earlier said.

Poe added that labelling projects with politicians’ names is a form of premature election campaign using public funds. H.B. Oledan