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Pilipinas Debate 2016

In: Social Issues

Submitted By elysianak
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Opening statements[edit]
Each candidate was given 60 seconds to deliver their opening remarks.[12] Jejomar Binay highlighted poverty issues and his record as mayor of Makati. Santiago noted that, while the country is rich in natural and human resources, it is one of the poorest in Asia. Duterte promised to eradicate corruption, drugs and crime in six months. Poe promised to allocate 30 percent of the national budget to Mindanao if she were elected, while Roxas compared selecting a president to choosing a bus driver.

First round: Track Record[edit]
The pairing was determined alphabetically by the participants' surname. Santiago was sorted according to her double surname (Defensor Santiago), and Roxas, the last candidate, is paired with Binay, the first.

Binay noted that he has no ill-gotten wealth, having inherited his land assets from his parents. Defensor Santiago rebutted, asking Binay when he got the properties during his term as mayor of Makati. Binay stated that he got these properties during his stint as a legal counsel and through the help of his wife, Elenita Binay, who also served one term as mayor of Makati.[13]

Senator Santiago answered that she is still qualified to run for president despite her battle with stage 4 lung cancer, noting that there is no provision in the 1987 Philippine constitution that prohibits a public official from running for health reasons.[14] Duterte did not debate with her during the rebuttal, saying "I don't see Sen. Santiago passing away within the next 20 years”.[15] Santiago, later commented that no politician except for Duterte had a record in resolving graft and corruption cases.

On his planned "bloody" presidency, Duterte vowed to continue killing the criminals and drug lords in accordance with the law with the help of police and the military.[16] Despite having several partners, the mayor denied any accusations of lasciviousness.[17] In response, Poe said that Duterte, who admitted he was a womanizer, needed to respect women. She vowed that her so-called "Gobyernong May Puso" (Government with a Heart) would respect and fight for the rights of men, women and the LGBT community.[18]

Poe quoted a line from a song from Gloc-9, "Upuan", in her address. She also stated that she worked together with Defensor Santiago in pushing and creating senate bills on budgets for food for children and farmers, as well as the Freedom of Information Bill.[15] Roxas replied that the presidency is not on-the-job-training. Poe countered, saying that Roxas, despite working for three administrations as a secretary of DTI, DOTC and DILG, did not need more experience to catch up on the lack of developments in the transportation sector by the government.[19]

Roxas was questioned about his incompetence in handling the issues of MRT and Haiyan (Yolanda). Roxas stated that during his term as the DOTC secretary, more than 100 contracts on infrastructure projects worth 100 billion were put out for bid without any anomalies.[15] On the MRT, Roxas said that he stopped the supposed maintenance contract with a private firm due to an anomaly.[20] Roxas claimed that the MRT's newly commissioned trains would be in service by March. Roxas defended his record on the rehabilitation of areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, noting that he was there, before, during and after the typhoon, unlike other politicians who arrived via helicopter but later departed like a tourist.[15] Binay then responded in a comment that he is a "decisive and effective leader" and remarked that he saw a lot from his helicopter regarding the effects of the typhoon.

Second round: Poverty & Development[edit]
The order of candidates was determined by a draw.

If elected, Binay said that he would implement an agricultural modernization plan with the help of the private sector, noting the industry's small contribution to the gross domestic product. He wants to continue the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (government subsidies) for the benefit of farmers, shipping high-yielding crops and the removal of irrigation fees; he also seeks to solve post-harvest problems through programs that he implemented while mayor of Makati. Poe, on her rebuttal said that there should be "agro-industrial zones" established by the DTI and DA, to assist in marketing basic commodities, soil testing and replanting coconut plants using the coco-levy funds.[21]

On the matter of food for the poor, Poe declared that she wants to provide free lunch in public schools, subsidies for rice farmers on irrigation and others. Poe pointed out that as the fifth largest coconut producer in the world, her government will be focused on the replanting of coconut plants using the coco-levy funds that will also be used in scholarship programs for the children of coco farmers.[22] She also said that agro-industrial zones where farmers can sell their products should be established by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture.[23] Santiago replied that there is no president or even a candidate that has an extensive antipoverty campaign.

Santiago suggested to expand the national budget in key areas, including health, education, rural infrastructure and improvements to social welfare; she also wanted to have constantly lower income taxes and abolish real estate taxes. Roxas replied that the government under the Aquino administration had continuous comfort and success in the fast-growing economic growth of the country and he wanted to continue the safety net programs, particularly for PhilHealth beneficiaries. Santiago replied that the other candidates' plans are all "promises way up in the sky".[24]

Roxas cited high-interest loans as one of the reasons why Filipino fishermen are part of the "poorest of the poor" people in the country. Roxas mulled low-interest loans and investments in new technology including fish finders (radars), post-catch facilities (chillers and packaging), and infrastructure for fishermen.[25] Duterte, in his rebuttal, agreed and noted he wanted to copy Roxas' modernized plans for the fisheries system. Roxas, questioned on his two decades in government, responded that he is not a corrupt public official and pointed to his anticorruption efforts in the "Daang Matuwid" (Straight Path) program.

For his part, Mayor Duterte said that he wants to eliminate rice cartels and 5–6 (practice of loan sharks) loans in the farming system in just three days. He is willing to resign and put his life and honor as President at stake if he failed to improve the corruption and crime situation in the country within three to six months. Among his other plans for the farmers were supplying funds (via LandBank) and setting up food terminals, credit unions and cooperatives. Binay said the smuggling crisis is a symptom of a problem-starting, indecisive and ineffective leader, noting that the Mindanao problems, including the rotational brownouts, all stem from a lack of action by local officials.[26]

Third round: Mindanao Issues[edit]
The order of candidates are determined by a draw.

Duterte noted that 60% of the infrastructure projects were from Metro Manila and just 19% were allocated to the Mindanao region, which contributes to the country's export and agriculture industry. Duterte reiterated that federalism is a solution to the issue on the Mindanao budget, vowing to end Manila-centrism in government. He points that the government should give Mindanao a larger share of taxes.[27] Roxas on the rebuttal said that he would focus on the construction of bridges (particularly in Zamboanga del Sur); he made it clear that Mindanao has twice the amount of infrastructure projects in the 5 years of the Aquino administration, compared to the last 12 years of Estrada and Arroyo administrations. Duterte responded that there is no "Tuwid na Daan" (lit. Straight Path), reiterating that Mindanao has a small share of the national budget.

For Roxas, illegal drugs in the Philippines were a bigger societal problem. Roxas wanted to focus on arresting drug syndicates and cartels through the PDEA and the PNP's Lambat Sibat, a program which started when he was the DILG secretary and which saw 2 billion pesos worth of illegal drugs seized during his term. Anticorruption efforts, he noted, are also a weapon against illegal drugs. Binay, on the rebuttal, noted that the police has weak enforcement capacity against drug cartels due to ineffective leadership. The vice president added that he doesn't believe in death penalty. Roxas responded that there are two faces of Makati, a city for the rich (the Ayalas/Makati CBD) and a city for the poor. He added that barangays such as Comembo, Pembo and Rembo are the ones where illegal drug syndicates dominate, and the city has a high drug rate; drugs are rampant in high-end clubs and exclusive subdsivisions in Makati—even on Good Friday.[28] Binay denied this and he said that illegal drugs are not Makati's problem.

Binay, who is part of a family belonging to a political dynasty, was asked regarding the prioritization of the passing of the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill. Binay remarked that it should be clarified which political dynasty is being referred to and that there are disagreements on what a political dynasty is. He said that a clean election, free from anomaly, is important, and a candidate shouldn't be barred from running just because the person has a relative in a political post. Santiago rebutted that the 1987 Constitution's anti-political dynasty provision should be literally applied but there is no law to implement it. She said that such a law has not been passed due to obstruction by politicians belonging to political dynasties. Binay pointed out to Santiago in his reply that Santiago's son served in an elected office. Santiago said that her son was only a party-list representative for one term and added that currently she has no relatives serving in an elected post.[29]

Santiago opposed the passage of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which was upheld by the Supreme Court, saying she believes that the executive department officials signed EDCA without giving a copy to the Senate; all foreign treaties should receive Senate approval. She also said that the Philippines should acquire more military equipment and engage in one-on-one talks with China to settle the dispute in the South China Sea.[30] Poe agreed with Santiago's comment that EDCA should pass first in the Senate, adding that she seeks to strengthen the Armed Forces, comparing it to Singapore's modernized military, and wants talks to China and the ASEAN constructively regarding the South China Sea dispute, which Santiago also wanted.

Poe supported transparent and inclusive Mindanao peace talks and a formal peace covenant including all sectors, such as the MILF, MNLF, tribal groups, indigenous people, and the Christians in Mindanao.[31] She also mentioned her plan to build a 70 billion-peso railway system in Mindanao and supported devolution of powers in the local government, an expanded budget for road infrastructure and tourism projects to provide jobs, and solving problems in electricity in Mindanao through the rehabilitation of Angus-Pulangi Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant, which supplied power to much of Mindanao. Duterte reacts that there is a great threat in Mindanao, after the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) failed to pass in the 15th Congress. He promised to offer the original version of the BBL and federalism to the Mindanao region.

Closing statements[edit]
The candidates gave their closing statement in alphabetical order as done in the opening statement and round 1. The program ended with all the candidates shaking hands for the country.

Binay said that the government should allocate and spend additional money in the national budget to jump-start development.[32] Santiago clarified that the debate is not a popularity contest, but rather a voter-education campaign. She summarized the qualities of a real leader: academic, professional and moral excellence.[33] Duterte said he is running for the presidency to show his love for the country and the people. He again reiterated that he is seeking to stop corruption in the government, as well as crime and drug syndicates, in just three to six months.[34] Poe's closing statement reiterated her plans for the Mindanao region: sufficient power supply and monitoring of transmission grids, job creation, and fighting corruption. Poe said that her first order of business, if elected as president, is to pass the Freedom of Information Bill as the first executive order.[35] Roxas assured the people that if elected as president, Filipinos would experience a more secure life, free from poverty, free from intimidation and free to express their dreams.[36]

Reception[edit]…...

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