5 Highlights of the PiliPinas Debates 2016
photo from left to right: Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Senator Grace Poe, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Miriam Defensor – Santiago, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas
On Sunday, February 21, the first leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 kicked off at the Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City, it was co-presented by Inquirer.net and GMA Network. The debate was attended by all 5 Presidential aspirants namely Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Senator Grace Poe, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Miriam Defensor – Santiago and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas. The PiliPinas (is a play of words meaning “Choose, Philippines”) is a series of debate that involves the Presidential candidates for the 2016 elections. This is the first time in 24 years that the Commision on Elections (Comelec) has held a debate among the candidates.
Check out the full video below:
Here are the highlights of the debate:
1. Three Rounds of Debate
The debate was composed of 3 rounds, each aspirant was given 90 seconds each to answer the question and 60 seconds to rebut their opponent, not including the opening and closing statements of the aspiring presidents.
At the first round, the candidates were asked about their track record and performance. The second round focused on poverty and development and how the candidates will tackle the said issues once they take over the highest position in the country. The third round tackled more issues regarding EDCA, Bangsamoro Law and other issues surrounding Mindanao. Questions for this final round were gathered via social media.
2. EDCA and Bangsamoro Basic Law
The issue about EDCA or Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, a deal that allows US military to build military bases in the Philippines that strengthen the Philippines defense but loses its sovereignty, was strongly rejected by Santiago and Poe. Read the full transcript below:
Santiago: “I am against the EDCA. It should’ve first passed the Senate, not just the executive department…Let us stand for our sovereign rights.”
Poe: “I agree with Senator Santiago. The Senate needs to review EDCA. We must put the country’s interests first. We can also strengthen our military, the way Singapore has. Let us take a leadership role in the Asean.”
The Bangsamoro Basic Law was also present in the debate, the question was asked to Poe but she didn’t directly comment on the agreement. Poe instead mentioned that she wanted “transparent, inclusive and sustainable” peace talks as an alternative. Meanwhile Davao City Mayor Duterte pushed for federalism and is open to continue the ongoing talks for the proposed BBL. Read the full transcript below:
Poe: “We need a transparent, inclusive, sustainable talks and agreement and consult everyone, including Christians in Mindanao…we also need to invest more in the growth of Mindanao.”
Duterte: “Unless we pursue federalism, nothing can appease Mindanao. I would offer not only the BBL, but federalism. You have to right the historical wrongs committed against the Moro people.”
3. Presidential Heated Exchange
One of the highlights of the debate was the heated exchange between the presidential aspirants. Roxas started the fire when he indirectly address Poe’s defense on her relative inexperience, Roxas said that the presidency is not an OJT or “on-the-job” training. Vice President Jejomar Binay defended his agreement about political dynasties and tried to deflect the criticism of Santiago by addressing that she has a son who also serves in the government but it was quickly corrected by Santiago. Davao Mayor Rudy Duterte rebutted the claim of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas, that the present administration gave funds for development in Mindanao, stating “Wala akong nakitang tuwid na daan. Puro kulubot naman yan” (I didn’t see any good governance, only mal administration). Lastly, Roxas slammed Binay for what he calls the two faces of Makati.
4. Closing Statement of Each Candidate
In the end, candidates were given 60 seconds to tell the public why should they be the next president of the Philippines.
VP Jejomar Binay: “Batay sa aking karanasan, ang problema ng kahirapan ay dapat harapin dahil problema pa rin po iyan. Tigilan ang underspending, kapag underspending, underperformance.” (Based on my experience, the problem of the poor should be faced, let’s stop underspending and underperformance – money isn’t spent on where it should be spent.)
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago: “We are looking for a real leader who will implement all these. There should be academic excellence, naging honor student, may professional excellence. We should have moral excellence. Dapat ang binoboto natin, walang bahid.” (We are looking for a real leader who will implement all these. There should be academic excellence, should be an honor student and has professional excellence. We should have moral excellence. People should vote for a clean President.)
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte: “I am here because I love my country. There’s so much corruption. I will get rid of drugs, crime and stop corruption in 3-6 months.”
Sen. Grace Poe: “Hindi po ito tungkol sa mga kandidato, tungkol po ito sa inyong mga Pilipino. Una, magkaroon ng sapat na kuryente sa murang halaga. Babantayan natin ang transmission grids. Ikalawa, trabaho, bibigyan natin ng 30% of national budget sa Mindanao. Ikatlo, pakikilaban sa corruption.” (It is not about the candidate, it is about the Filipino people. First, we should have cheap electricity. We will keep a close eye on transmission grids. Second, jobs, and we will allocate the 30% of the national budget to Mindanao. Third, to fight corruption.)
Former Sec. Mar Roxas: “Gusto ko maging Pangulo dahil gusto ko maging malaya kayo sa gutom, sa hirap. Mahihiya akong harapin ang aking mga magulang at ang aking anak kung hindi ginawa lahat ito.” (I want to be a President because I want the people to be free from hunger, free from fear and free to dream. I will be ashamed to face my parents and my son if I do not do anything to make that happen.)
5. Viewers Demographics
Social Media was buzzing last Sunday with the #PiliPinasDebate2016 hashtag and the new age being connected, the response of everyone to the said event was beyond everybody’s expectations. The Twitter heat map presented at the debate showed that reaction to the debate was strongest in Metro Manila and Cagayan de Oro during the early minutes and eventually topping the list of trending topics in the Philippines and worldwide with more than 1 million tweets.
In Facebook, Majority (58% ) or 6 out of 10 who were into the debate are women. Forty (40) percent of those involved in the discussion were aged 18 to 24 while 31% belong to the 25 to 34 age bracket, debunking the notion that men are much more interested in politics. Results show that it’s the youth that showed more interest in the debate than the other categories.
After the first debate, Inquirer.net has held a special election poll in their website to answer the question “Whose answers impressed you the most in the debates?” From 267, 354 recipients, 51.68% or 138, 172 of the votes were for Mar Roxas, behind him is Rodrigo Duterte with 41.2% of the votes and then followed by Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Jejomar Binay with 3.23 %, 2.9% and 0.99% respectively.
The 2nd presidential debate will happen on March 20 at the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City. This will be sponsored by TV5 and The Philippine Star.
While the next and final leg of presidential debate will be on April 24 at the University of Pangasinan, presented by ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin.