Inquirer, GMA-7 to hold 1st presidential debate in Mindanao in February
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Daily Inquirer and its election partner, GMA-7 are set to hold on Feb. 21, in Mindanao, the first presidential debate for 2016 balloting that will seek to tackle pressing issues centered on peace and order, poverty reduction, agriculture and Charter change.
In a brief ceremony late afternoon Monday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) drew lots to determine which media entities will host the series of debates for presidential and vice presidential candidates in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila.
Inquirer and GMA-7 were designated to host the first debate to be held in Mindanao while Philippine Star and TV5 will moderate the second presidential debate in the Visayas region on March 20.
Manila Bulletin and ABS-CBN will take care of the last debate among presidential contenders in Luzon on April 24.
The only debate for vice presidential aspirants will be hosted by CNN Philippines and Business Mirror in Metro Manila on April 10.
“They will let us know which city and which university they will be partnering with. It’s a dual moderator format,” said Comelec Chair Andres Bautista, who oversaw the drawing of lots on Monday.
Earlier, all parties involved agreed that the debate in Mindanao will tackle issues on agriculture development, poverty reduction and asset creation and redistribution, Charter change and peace and order.
The debate in Visayas will center on disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, fighting corruption, healthcare and education while topics in the Luzon leg will involve traffic and public transportation issues, electoral and political reforms, foreign policy, national defense and taxation.
The Comelec is pursuing these series of debates to allow candidates for president and vice president to discuss their platform of government and provide an avenue for voters to effectively assess their chosen candidates.
Bautista earlier said the candidates would have the option to participate in the debate or pass up on the opportunity to be heard. “We will not force anybody to join the debates,” said Comelec chief. SFM
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