November 26, 2022

KEEP PUBLIC-FUNDED PROJECTS EPAL-PROOF

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is in the right direction for insulating its anti-poverty programs from politicking in line with the upcoming elections.
This recent move should also remind the public of their duty to be vigilant and help government agencies realize the intention of the measures they put in place to prevent elected leaders from claiming ownership or wrongly presenting themselves as the pioneers of government programs or projects.
The DSWD recently launched a campaign that aims to protect its social protection programs from being used by politicians to attract votes, as the May 9 elections draw nearer.
Called the anti-epal campaign, the DSWD initiative is implemented in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Commission on Elections.
The practice of politicians misrepresenting themselves as pioneers of projects funded by the taxpayers themselves is not new and it has become rampant during the election season.
Why this remains the norm in the Philippines could be due to the people’s lack of realization of the power they have to call out their leaders or worse, the public’s apathy towards anti-epal efforts.
Ahead of the elections, Filipinos have witnessed how incumbent politicians made public appearances during distribution of financial assistance to the public at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to make it appear they initiated the activities.
It is high time the voters realize the power they have. We cannot overemphasize that government programs, like the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilya and other anti-poverty programs, infrastructure projects, health, and agricultural projects, among other projects are funded by the taxpayers and not the politicians alone.
As employees hired by the people, it is the duty of elected leaders to implement government programs and projects, including sourcing out of funds for their respective towns or provinces.
Elected leaders owe it to their constituents to deliver basic services to the people and the public is not indebted to politicians who ought to deliver these services to the people.
As the campaign heats up, we hope other government agencies strengthen their anti-epal measures or institute one to remind not only the incumbent politicians, but also those seeking elective posts that when seeking public office, one’s major agenda should be to serve the people and not be served by the people.
We also remind the public of their duty to be vigilant and call out or report to concerned agencies their elected leaders who treat programs funded by public funds as their own.
As we look forward to a safe, honest, and clean elections, the voters should also realize that their power comes with a great responsibility after they cast their votes on May 9 and that is to remain vigilant regardless if their candidates made it into public office or not.