Group to 'epal' pols: Spare Black Nazarene feast
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2013 - 2:11pm

MANILA, Philippines - Warning the public that the crowded Black Nazarene feast again be might be "tarpaulinized," an environmental group told politicians to spare the event from tarpaulins to promote themselves.

Eco Waste coalition appealed to candidates for the mid-tern May elections on Monday to refrain from decorating  the processional route with "propaganda" tarpaulins for the Catholic devotees to see on January 9.

“We ask politicos from all the contending factions not to ‘tarpaulinize’ what should be a celebration of unity in faith,” Eco Waste Coalition coordinator Edwin Alejo said.

Alejo said politicians tend to use the occasion to greet the crowds with a "Happy Fiesta" through banners and posters--a practice which the group calls "tarpaulitics."

Another advocacy group Anti-Epal Movement dubbed politicians engaging in brazen pre-campaign promotions "epal," which is a derogatory Filipino slang term for "butting in."

Such posters and banners made from plastic or paper, besides being inopportune, also contribute to the clutter requiring extensive cleaning, the group said.

“Tarpaulins do not lead to a ‘happy fiesta.’ In fact, tarpaulins are a nuisance that can confuse the spiritual message of unity, block the public view of the procession, harm the trees and muddle up the bridges, electric cables, lamp posts and structures where the tarps are usually fastened or hanged,” Alejo added.

Alternative tactics

Alejo advised politicians and political hopefuls to instead divert their campaign funds to more meaningful contributions for the event.

They can involve themselves in the post-event cleanup of the streets by providing waste bins or sacks by and in the removal of "unsightly" banners, he said.

The environmental advocate also encouraged them to pay extra personnel to help in sweeping the Quiapo district where the fiesta will take place as well as provide free meals to the devotees.

ALEJO ANTI-EPAL MOVEMENT BLACK NAZARENE ECO WASTE ECO WASTE COALITION EDWIN ALEJO GROUP HAPPY FIESTA POLITICIANS
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