It has been a week that the last presidential debate happened. (Unprofessional statement commencing.) I was supposed to write an article the night after the debates. But I was left aghast as to what final notes I can give for one of the crucial moments of our country’s elections. So apologies for the belated post.
Well, to recall, here are some of the highlights of that night’s proceedings (or essential parts for the Luzon leg):
- Town-Hall Style: For this moment, the Luzon leg adapts the town hall-style of a debate by letting the audience members ask the questions for the participants. ABS-CBN even incorporated taped video clips, circling around the member’s backstory.
- Discussion about Contractualization: Now this is where ears are lent. Contractual workforce is a controversial one in our labor status. Being the initial topic for the debate is a great catch for all candidates to find alternative ways to counter endo or end of contract.
- Discussion about Healthcare: The Philippines has a polarizing status with regard to healthcare. PhilHealth becomes the main point of circulation. And each candidate lent their proposals to improve the status of the country’s health system. Open hospitalization is a common ground for the candidates.
- Fast Talk: In the official third round for the debate, each candidate were asked questions of issues they faced alongside their campaign period. And they all justified their stands on those issues. Along the way, some candidates exchanged arguments to each other.
- Closing Statement: The closing statement was the climax of the debate. All five hopeful candidates gave their last lines to the people. While some summarize their platforms and vision statement of their campaign, the majority acknowledged the full support of their followers and attested their conviction on their run.
Other topics were brought up during the debate like the West Philippine Sea disputes, the OFWs, the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Mindanao, the traffic flow and project proposals.
Program-wise, the debate was not as excellently handled as the Mindanao leg. But it is still grandiose and well-executed. But as a recovery, this must be the most comprehensive debate out of the three, thanks to the informative exchanges.
I can say that there is less variety than it has previously (which is a relief). But there are still moments with pop culture sprinkled that are not limited to:
- The exchange between Roxas and Duterte concerning a PhilHealth in Davao
- Binay moving out of his podium
- Santiago sitting during one round
- The calm exchange between Santiago and Duterte (concerned about Santiago’s health)
- The heated exchange between Santiago and Roxas (being sniped by Santiago’s argument for Roxas’ elitist background)
- Poe’s matriarchal perspective as a recurring theme
- Poe acknowledging her father
While I may release a whole article about the variety that this debate has reached, I can only stay and watch as every candidate pour out their best impressions. It become a fulfilling reflection of their character that will surely last till the 9th of May. It is not yet the end for the candidates but there is an obvious people’s choice for president, based on polls. Even by that, the challenges kept coming, especially for that people’s choice.
After analyzing more on this debate run, I still remain open to here more from the candidates, not to remain unsure but to remain critical of the next moves that our next leaders will do. If either get motivated by an opponent’s challenge or dodge those challenges, it only adds up that this is going to be a polarizing elections.
So, as for last words, this is for all the registered voters. May your choices to lead the nation be a definite statement of what you want best for the Philippines. Our votes are not just numbers. They are reflections of what society we have built up in this country. Filipinos are worth fighting for. Though we may differ in our choices, at the end of the day, we are still Filipinos, stewards to mother Philippines and servants to its people. And if either our next highest leader comes from a living legacy, a polarizing administration, a prestigious institution, a peace-mongering domain or a powerful kinship, we must all strive for the one thing we want most: CHANGE.