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Philippines: Online Shame Campaign Against “Epal” Politicians

With less than a year into the 2013 national elections, netizens launched an online shame campaign against the common practice of Filipino politicians to attach their names to government projects that are funded or assisted by their office.

These politicians are labelled “epal,” a Filipino slang term meaning “attention grabber,” for using public funds and programs to promote themselves through tarpaulins and other publicity materials.

The campaign initiators encourage people to submit photos that expose “epal” politicos to the #epalwatch blog. An Anti-epal Facebook page has over 33,000 likes and dozens of submissions by concerned netizens.

They've also partnered with local IT company Kwan Initiatives for the integration of a new anti-epal feature into the smartphone mobile application Instapatrol.

Through this new feature, Instapatrol users can now only easily share photos of floods, traffic, potholes, and other everyday inconveniences but also photos of “epal” politicians.

The examples of “epal” images submitted in these sites range from the brazen to the ingenious. Here's a billboard by an alleged political dynasty in the southern Philippine province Davao del Sur described by posters as a “family portrait.”

Walls along main thoroughfares and side streets, like those of Manila below, are common victims.

So are government vehicles.

There's a Happy Halloween tarpaulin complete with the faces of government officials.

Disaster relief goods are meanwhile utilized for “early campaigning.”

The virtual spaces of Facebook and other social networking sites have also been invaded. This is President Noynoy Aquino's cousin who is also a senatorial aspirant:

Even peanut butter is not spared.

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