COA finally issues rules on anti-epal

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has issued rules that will penalize government officials using government projects, programs and activities for propaganda purposes.

Based on Circular 2013-004 issued last January 30, 2013 and made effective today, the state auditing firm requires government officials to notify the public of their offices’ projects, programs and activities but “at the least possible cost” noting that the nature of the announcement is to inform the public of the essential features of the project.

As such, “the display and/or affixture of the picture, image, motto, logo, color motif, initials or other symbol or graphic representation associated with the top leadership of the project proponent or implementing agency/unit/office, on signboards, is considered unnecessary.”

COA also highlighted that the rule will also apply to signboards of projects associated with “members of the Congress, Executive Officials or Local Officials where the [project] is implemented wholly or partially through the priority development assistance fund of Congress or through other forms of government fund transfers from the executive department or LGUs.”

The display of such kind of image-boosting items are also unnecessary on equipment and facilities; vehicles of all type (engine, manpower or animal driven); wrappers, containers; tokens, souvenir items, calendars, ballpens, tshirts or other apparel.

COA stressed that “no election related expense or propaganda…shall be charged against public funds.”

The same resolution prescribes the size, font, and color of those written on tarpaulin signboards. For infrastructure projects, for instance, the tarpaulin itself must not exceed eight feet by eight feet. For non-infrastructure projects, meanwhile, tarpaulins should not exceed 3 feet by 4 feet.
COA said those who have been found to have violated the rules will be administratively disciplined and “without prejudice to the filing of a criminal action.”

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

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