Questions to all presidential and vice presidential candidates

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Like a job interview, all presidential aspirants must give proper and truthful answers to some very important and relevant questions on governance, public administration, and leadership. Their answers to these very vital questions should guide the electorate in their crucial choice this coming national elections this coming May this year. Many of the candidates have already expressed their own views and platforms on these issues. It is thus essential for us conscientious voters to scrutinize their respective stand on the issues so that we shall judge the presidential and vice presidential bets based on principles, not on personalities. It is high time that we grow in political maturity in choosing our national leaders.

First and foremost, what is the stand of each candidate on the disparities, injustice, and inequity in the current socio-economic and political structures in the country? How do they look at the present economic development which the administration itself admits to be not inclusive? What are their respective plans on the over-concentration of national wealth in the hands of less than thirty families among the 110 million Filipinos? How would they address the constitutionally-mandated diffusion of economic, social and political powers from the hands of the oligarchs, the hacienderos, the tycoons, taipans, and the ilustrados? How would the next president and vice president promote social justice, which should start with the equalization of social and economic forces in Philippine society?

Second, what are their plans on national security and foreign affairs? How would they intend to defend our national territory from external aggression exemplified by the bullying tactics of China? How would they prevent the dismemberment of the republic by rejecting any attempt by any rebel group to secede from the whole nation and create a state within the state? How would the next national leaders assure peace in Mindanao without giving up any inch of our national territory? How would they solve the rebellions in the south, convince the NPA to abandon armed struggle and bring back to the mainstream all political rebels? What is their stand on the increasing terrorisms against the "lumads" and other indigenous communities?

Third, what are the respective plans of these candidates to solve the rising crimes in the country? How would they dismantle all criminal syndicates engaged in kidnapping, carnapping, robbery, extortions, smuggling, trafficking of women and minors, and illegal recruitment? How would they address the growing menace of the drug problems, the illegal gambling, and all other scams and syndicates that victimize the hapless citizens?

Fourth, how should the next leaders prepare our people to survive all forms of calamities, be they natural or man-made? What are their strategies in rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of calamities? Do they have some viable and practical solutions to all these climate-related problems?

Fifth, what are the social programs of the next president and vice president? How would they address the unemployment of not less than five million Filipinos, the underemployment of more than twenty million, and the perennial dearth of decent jobs in the domestic labor markets? How would they address the diaspora of more than five thousand Filipinos leaving the country every single day? How would the government protect 12 million migrant Filipinos in 200 countries all over the world? And how would the next leaders solve the lack of decent housing and medical care for tens of millions? How would they give opportunity to the poor to avail of affordable quality education?

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