“Epaliticos” Urged to Refrain from Hanging “Happy Graduation” Tarpaulins

The EcoWaste Coalition, a group campaigning for basura-free elections, today asked candidates for the upcoming polls not to take advantage of the graduation ceremonies this month to score political gains.

As per DepEd Order No. 7, series of 2016 issued by Secretary Armin Luistro, all graduation rites should be conducted on or before April 1 and should “not be used as a political forum.”

“Let the graduates and their parents be the stars of March, the graduation month.  ‘Epal’ politicians should, out of delicadeza, stay away from graduation sites,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Political hopefuls should not to steal the thunder from the graduates by hanging tarpaulin posters with their names and faces near schools,” she said.

“These ‘happy graduation’ tarps on cables, posts and trees are not only annoying and worthless.  They also add to the tons of illegally placed campaign materials that ‘Operation Baklas’ workers are tasked to dismantle,” she pointed out.

The group cited data from the Metro Manila Development Authority indicating that some eight tons of illegal campaign paraphernalia have been removed by the agency since the “Operation Baklas” kicked off last February 9.

“The volume of seized propaganda materials is expected to soar as the start of the official campaign period for local candidates on March 26 nears,” Lucero said.

To encourage national and local candidates and their supporters to follow campaign rules, the group urged the public to take photos of illegal campaign materials and to report campaign infractions to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) via  #SumbongKo.

“Let us support the COMELEC’s online shame campaign and push all aspiring public servants from all sides of the political spectrum to conform to the rules and care for the environment,” Lucero said.

Throughout the month of March, the EcoWaste Coalition will monitor surrounding areas of public and private schools in Metro Manila for “happy graduation” tarps from “epal” politicians.