Cebu News

Presidential debate in Cebu: Different format, more topics expected

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - More topics, particularly those which have not been discussed in the first presidential debate last Sunday, will be expected in the Visayas leg scheduled for March 20 at the University of the Philippines-Cebu.

In a press conference, University of the Philippines-Cebu dean Liza Corro confirmed that all five presidentiables: Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, former Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Grace Poe will be attending the second leg of the presidential Debate.

Corro said that the topics to be discussed in the debate will include climate change, education, women rights, health and disaster preparedness.

 “It will be a different topic to that of the first presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro. Here in Cebu, it’s a different topic and a different format,” Corro said in a press conference, where they officially launched “Wise UPCebu 2016 Sayri! Barugi!”, the school’s counterpart for the voter’s education drive. 

Gregg Lloren, a UP-Cebu faculty member who will be the floor director of the event, said the debate will be held at UP’s Performing Arts Hall from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 Lloren disclosed that the debate proper will start at 5 p.m. but there will be an on-ground event, which will be at the UP-Cebu grounds, where a host will be asking participants about their sentiments on the upcoming 2016 national and local elections.

He said even presidentiables can start talking during the on-ground event.

For security reasons, Lloren said the debate is not open to the public, only to a number of attendees.

For the debate proper at the Performing Arts Hall, Lloren said they can only accommodate 500 people. However, at least 1,500 more can watch the debate through a wide screen TV at the UP-Cebu grounds.

He added that they will be inviting at least 10 representatives, both students and faculty, from 17 schools and universities in Cebu.

Further, Corro said they still have to discuss if supporters of the five presidentiables with placards and streamers will be allowed inside the school.

 “This matter has still to be discussed,” Corros said.

The Visayas-leg presidential debate will be sponsored by the Commission on Elections, together with The Philippine Star and TV5.

The third leg of the presidential debate is slated to be held on April 24 at the University of Pangasinan, while the vice-presidential debate will be on April 10 in Metro Manila.


Senator and vice presidential aspirant Antonio Trillanes IV suggested that for the next batch of debates, a panel of credible individuals should be the ones to throw questions and follow-ups to political aspirants so that in-depth answers would be provided.

Trillanes said some of the answers during the first presidential debate lacked concrete and profound explanations, citing presidential candidate Rody Duterte’s promise on solving crimes in three to six months upon assumption of office.

Trillanes, who was in Cebu yesterday, said Duterte failed to expound on how he will solve the perennial problem in just a short span of time. “Did he even say how?” he asked.

“I believe instead having that face off two candidates I would rather have panelists to ask series of questions and follow ups and dig deeper. As I observed, we weren’t able to dig deeper on different issues,” he said.

“But if we have series of questions they can answer with depth. So, you can at least assess whether he is just pulling our leg or he doesn’t have program at all,” he added.

Despite the said oversight, Trillanes said the debate was still “interesting.”He added that it was also an opportunity for the Filipino people to “assess and know their different candidates.”

“It was a good start and it is better than nothing at all,” he concluded.

Trillanes will join other vice presidential candidate, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan  and Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonora “Leni” Robredo on the vice-presidential debate on April 10. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon and Kristine B. Quintas/ATO



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