CDO youth asked: Who will you vote for in 2016?

Aika Rey
CDO youth asked: Who will you vote for in 2016?
During #PHVote Challenge: Cagayan de Oro's #TheLeaderIWant, students identify leaders they want based on the presidential bets' stance on issues and track records

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Students from Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan gave their assessments of the top presidential aspirants during the #PHVote Challenge: Cagayan de Oro’s #TheLeaderIWant forum on Thursday, December 10.

“How do you assess the 6 candidates?” Rappler’s Investigative Desk Editor Chay Hofileña asked the student panelists. 

Student leaders Nor-Jamal Batugan, president of Sira’j Muslim Religious Organization, and Ernesto Neri, a fourth year Xavier University Law student compared candidates based on their track records and stance on issues. (READ: #PHVote CDO: More youth getting involved with election issues)

For Batugan, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Liberal Party Presidential bet Mar Roxas have good track records. He added, however, that issues surrounding them discredit their images as public servants for young Moros.

“There are some anomalies that float around (Binay) as far as the young Moro voters are concerned. I believe that these issues discredit him,” Batugan said. On Roxas, he said that the issues on the Metro Rail Transit and the failure to address traffic in Metro Manila during his term as the transport secretary has an impact to young Mindanawans.


Neri argued that if only to choose based on competency, a person would logically vote for Mar Roxas. He said, however, that the problem with the Liberal Party presidential bet is that “his personality does not really inspire.”

“We can argue that the presidency does not require a technocrat. It requires someone who can inspire people,” he added. Neri said it is important for a candidate to successfuyll communicate his message across.

“If there are questions to the ability to bring people together, that is an issue,” Neri added.

ACTIVISM. Xavier Law student Ernesto Neri says the youth of CDO have a high level of societal consciousness. Photo by Naoki Mengua/ Rappler

On political reform and discipline, Batugan believes that Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has the ability to do that. Coming from Lanao del Sur, he said that what they want is the kind of leader that can address peace and order.

“Considering the life of Maranaos, they live everyday seeing killings, kidnapping…I want (them) to enjoy the same peace and order that I experience here in CDO,” he said, pledging his vote for Duterte.

Despite taking into account Duterte’s origin as a Mindanawan, Neri differs from Batugan’s political inclination. “It does not make sense to me to implement the law by violating due process. I believe that some people are also in the same situation,” he said.

Students tweet #PHVote

The audience shared their sentiments on the forum and the leader they want on Twitter.

Presidential support for the 2016 polls online were mainly inclined towards Duterte. Some students say they will vote for him because of his credentials as Davao mayor as well as his stance on Federalism. 

While others expressed full support for the Davao mayor, there are some who are torn between him and another candidate. 

XU student Agnes Adviento said she is torn between Roxas and Duterte. For her, Roxas promises the sustainability of “Tuwid na Daan” (straight path).

Besides Duterte, Roxas and and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago also received support.

During the 2010 presidential elections, former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada won the province’s vote with 93,767 votes, with President Benigno Aquino III trailing behind with 69,554 votes.

The vice presidential race then was far from close. Vice President Jejomar Binay won by a landslide there with 115,938 votes, leaving Mar Roxas with 70,116 votes.

With the race heating up for the 2016 polls, it remains to be seen how the city’s youth vote will influence the outcome of the local and national elections. —

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at