Presidential bets stress importance of debates
MANILA, Philippines — Almost all presidential candidates on Sunday stressed the importance of having debates in relation to the upcoming elections.
During the presidential debate organized by CNN Philippines at the University of Santo Tomas, eight of the nine bets present said debates are very important. Only candidate Jose Montemayor disagreed.
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. declined to attend the event.
“Napaka-importante nito dapat nandito ‘yung isang kasama namin. Bakit hindi pumunta dito? Importante ‘to para malaman sana’t masabi kung ano ‘yung mga programa, malaman ng bansa, ng ating mga botante kung ano ‘yung plataporma,” labor leader Leody de Guzman said.
(This is very important and the other candidate should be here. Why did he not attend? This is important to know and lay out your programs, for the country to know, our voters, what our platforms are.)
Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno said that showing up in debates is like attending an interview with the Human Rights (HR) Department.
“Napakahalaga po sapagkat buhay po ng tao, ng mga kababayan natin, ang ating paglilingkuran sa anim na taon. Ang mga nanonood ngayon, kayo po sa mga tahanan niyo, sa mga cellphone niyo, kayo po ngayon ang HR Department. Kami po ay aplikante sa trabaho. Gusto mo naman ba mag-hire ng empleyado na hindi mo nakausap, hindi mo nakita, hindi mo nalaman kung anong karanasan, anong magagawa para sa iyong kumpanya? Metaphorically speaking,” he explained.
(It is very important because we will be of service to the lives of the people, our fellow citizens for six years. Those watching now, in your homes or phones, you are the HR Department. We are the applicants for work. Do you want to hire an employee that you have not talked to, have not seen, do not know the experiences, what he can do for the company?)
Former Defense secretary Norberto Gonzales, meanwhile, expressed gratitude that there are debates as an avenue to discuss important matters.
“Salamat at may mga debate. Mayroon tayong magkakaroon ng pagkakataon na maipaliwanag sa ating mga kababayan ang pangangailangan ng bagong sistema sa pulitika. Natutuwa tayo na kahit papa’no may mga okasyon na ganito na pinag-uusapan dapat ay ‘yung mga seryosong bagay na nakakaapekto sa buhay natin at sa ating kinabukasan,” he said.
(Thank you for the debates. We have a chance to explain to our fellow Filipinos the need for a new system of politics. We are happy that there are occasions like this wherein we discuss serious issues affecting our lives and future.)
Senator Panfilo Lacson cited the fair playing level offered by debates to candidates.
“Napakahalaga ng debateng tulad nito kasi level ang playing field. Walang tutor, walang script, pati cellphone pinagbawal niyo pa. So, walang makakapag-Google. So, dito masusukat, maaarok ‘yung wisdom ng bawat isa sa amin at hindi lamang ‘yung wisdom kundi ‘yung grasp sa mga issues — current issues, past issues — dito ma-a-unearth. Hindi lamang wisdom, hindi lang kaalaman, kundi pati character minsan lumalabas sa mga debateng katulad nito,” he noted.
(This debate is important because the playing field is of the same level. No tutor, no script, no phones. So, we cannot search on Google. So, not only your wisdom but also the grasp on issues — current issues, past issues — would be tested and unearthed here. Not only wisdom and knowledge, but also the character is being revealed in these debates.)
Faisal Mangondato and former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella shared the same view given by the other presidential hopefuls.
“Mahalaga po ang isang debate para malaman ng ating mga kababayan ano ba talaga ang kailangan sa sitwasyon ngayon sa ating bansa. Ano ba ang mga dinadala ng mga kandidato na kailangan masaliksik mabuti ng ating mga kababayan dahil po ‘pag nagkamali po tayo ng pagsulat, anim na taon po natin dadalhin sa ating buhay,” Mangondato said.
(A debate is important for our fellow Filipinos to know the situation of our country. What do the candidates bring that could be looked into by our fellow Filipinos. Because if we commit a mistake, we will carry it for six years.)
“It’s very, very important po talaga ‘yung debate para marinig natin kung saan talaga nanggagaling ang tao… So, mahalaga po talaga na magkaharap tayo para mailatag, makita, at madinig natin kung ano talaga ‘yung nasa puso at ang mga plano,” Abella remarked.
(The debate is very, very important to hear where people are coming from… So, it is important for us to face one another to lay out, see, and hear what is in our heart and our plans.)
Senator Manny Pacquiao pointed out that sincerity of candidates are revealed during debates.
“Napaka-importante po ng ganitong debate. In fact, ako po ang nag-request ng face-to-face na ganito dahil para makita po natin ang sinseridad ng isang tumatakbo. Makita natin ‘yung purity ng kanyang puso. Kaya importante po talaga ito dahil maipahayag mo ‘yung plano mo sa ating bansa kasi hindi ito kinabukasan mo lang, kundi kinabukasan ng ating bansa. Kinabukasan ng ating mga Pilipino,” said the senator.
(This kind of debate is very important. In fact, I was the one who requested face-to-face debates to see the sincerity of the candidate. This is important to tell your plans for the country because this is not only about your future, but of the country. The future of Filipinos.)
Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile stressed that answering difficult questions even during difficult times is an ingredient of leadership.
“‘Yung (The) number one ingredient din ng (of) leadership, aside from character, is you show up in the most difficult times. ‘Pag hindi ka mag- (If you don’t) show up in the most difficult times, hindi ka (you are not a) leader,” she said.
“Kailangan kaya mong harapin ‘yung mga itatanong sa’yo. Kailangang kaya mo masagot kung ano ‘yung mga issues laban sa’yo. Hindi ka magtatago. Kaya para sa’kin, ito ‘yung pagbibigay halaga at respeto sa taumbayan na maghahalal sa’yo,” added Robredo.
(You have to face the questions. You have to answer the issues thrown against you. You should not hide. So, for me, this gives importance and respect to the public who will elect you.)
Only Montemayor said the CNN debate is not that important, adding that the event is not a classic debate.
“This is not the debate. It may be, well, a forum. But this is not the classic debate that we expect,” he commented.
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