Substance, ignored issues should be last debate’s focus – advocates

Last debate, two more weeks to go before the elections

MANILA, Philippines – Will the last debate be the one where the candidates will fully substantiate their plans?

For now, no one can be sure, but Rappler’s pool of experts and advocates certainly hope so.

Before the 3rd presidential debate held in Dagupan City, Pangasinan experts and advocates from different sectors shared their hopes online.

Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) assistant professor Badz Calamba said he was looking for “more concrete platforms” and “not abstracts.”

Save Philippine Seas head Anna Oposa said seeing strong platforms will turn the tide for undecided voters.

In terms of specific platforms, however, there are several issues which weigh heavily for the advocates.

Traffic, for example, is a key issue for climate advocate and former climate negotiator Yeb Saño.

Traffic and public transportation are included in the agenda for the debate.

But he, like others concerned with the environment, challenged the candidates to present a platform for the environment.

Although the environment and climate change have been discussed in the past, climate advocates were dismayed that it turned into a catfight during the Cebu debate.

Calamba also included programs for the displaced Lumad, who have been living as evacuees because of conflict in their lands.

This was a topic that the crowd at the Cagayan de Oro debate wanted to hear but was left out in the discussion. (READ: Cagayan de Oro debate crowd: Where are our issues?)

He also included poverty in his list of priorities.

The church-based organization Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, however, is still waiting for agriculture to be included in the agenda.

The crowd at the Cagayan de Oro debate was also dismayed that this was not discussed.

The last leg of the debate will feature questions from sectoral groups and will include the following topics:

  • Metro traffic and public transport
  • job security
  • Foreign policy
  • Basic public education
  • Concerns of overseas Filipino workers
  • Peace for Mindanaoans in conflict areas
  • Health

One more debate, and two more weeks before the Filipinos troop to the precincts. Will they finally hear about these issues? – Rappler.com