Anti-‘epal’ violators warned

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    The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has received numerous complaints some public servants have their names or faces imprinted on public documents like permits and licenses.

    Jeremiah Belgica, ARTA director-general, in a statement said this practice by some government officials is prohibited by the Anti-Epal provision or General Provision No. 82 of the adopted 2021 National Budget.

    Under the Anti-Epal provision, government officials, whether elected or appointed, are banned from self-promotion through placement of names, pictures, or otherwise on programs, projects, and any other initiatives that are funded by the government through the General Appropriations Act.

    Belgica said politicians have long since taken advantage of this system wherein the head of agency or local government unit usually places the former’s name and picture as indirect advertising or a way to make it appear that the people owe a favor to them.

    This practice becomes even more rampant as the election nears,

    “These pictures of politicians on permits and licenses affect the cost of printing that the applicants are shouldering,” Belgica said.

    ARTA is mandated to monitor the compliance of agencies to R.A. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, which includes checking the agencies’ Citizen’s Charters and other government collaterals such as permits, licenses, and other issuances.