#epalwatch: Citizens’ response to epal public servants

It is no secret that citizens have long loathed the habit by public servants of creatively disguising attributions to their selves in the form of tarpaulins, posters and anything else you can think of. But nothing really took off. Not until Sen. Miriam Santiago’s Anti Epal Bill (HB 1967), an act prohibiting public officials from claiming credit through signage announcing a public works project.

The Anti Epal Bill brought to light the way public officials continue to campaign and promote themselves even after they are elected into office to prosper their political careers – all in the guise of public works and other ways. The creativity does not stop there. How many times have we seen other kinds of promotional materials in Styrofoam containers, food wrappers, plastic cups, pencils, and yes, lately we discovered that even preschool certificates of completion can have a public official’s picture on it. I’m wondering if the bill has been forgotten.

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Tax evaders – beware!

April 15 is near and for many, this is when we bite the bullet and shell out precious, hard-earned money to pay our income taxes.

Those of us who are employed often grumble underneath our breath about dutifully paying taxes (automatically withheld from us) while knowing many get away without doing so. This, and the knowledge that so much of our taxes leak out into the pockets of corrupt officials, makes tax time that much more painful.

In a recent forum on Understanding Government Revenues, Department of Finance (DoF) Sec. Purisima said it is shocking to discover that the list of the top 1,000 taxpayers does not include people you’d expect there. He said he was particularly interested in what he calls the “Invisible 500”.

The day may not be long in coming, if this administration executes its plans as described by Sec. Purisima, when tax evaders will slowly fade away and revenue collection starts to improve and become efficient.

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