Longer time, fewer ads at next debate
Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The next round of the presidential debate – to be held on March 20 in Cebu – will be one hour longer than the previous one and telecast live by TV5 with partners The STAR, Pilipino Star Ngayon, BusinessWorld and The Freeman.  

Dubbed as the PILIpinas Debates, the Visayas leg of the presidential debate airs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will also be carried on live streaming by Cignal/PLDT, InterAksyon and PhilStar.com.

The first presidential debate – organized by GMA-7 and the Inquirer – was held for two hours last Feb. 21 in Mindanao.

The Visayas leg of the debate will take place at the 300-seat auditorium of the University of the Philippines on Lahug Avenue.

Luchi Cruz-Valdes, news and information department chief of TV5, made the announcement in a meeting yesterday at the network’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City with Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista and representatives of the five presidential candidates. Through their representatives, the five candidates confirmed their participation in the debate.

Bautista, the candidates’ representatives and executives of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) welcomed the announcement.

In the same meeting, Valdez confirmed the next presidential debate would have fewer political ads and commercial breaks, which will be limited to five minutes each.

This was in response to public complaints regarding long commercial breaks in the first debate.

With the changes, each presidential candidate will have 120 seconds or two minutes – from the previous 90 seconds – to answer questions, and 30 seconds to make a rebuttal.

The first half of the Comelec-supervised presidential debate will be in panel discussion format, with Valdez as moderator.

The next half will be a one-on-one toss-up among the five presidential candidates who would draw lots to determine who will pose the first question to who.

To comprise the panel of interrogators are TV5 news anchor Erwin Tulfo, TV5 public affairs host Lourd de Veyra, Bloomberg TV host Anthony Abad, RMN news anchor Rufill Banoc, The STAR editor-in-chief Amy Pamintuan and associate editor Marichu Villanueva.

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