It’s almost election day, which means now, more than ever, do we need to look at who deserves one of the 12 seats in the Senate.
Television and online viewers got that chance last night at Harapan 2019: The Senatorial Town Hall Debate, where nine out of the 63 senatorial candidates were asked on-the-spot about the country’s most pressing issues at the moment and what they will do to address these problems once seated inside the Senate.
Here are some of the most memorable moments from the debate.
Bam Aquino’s view of millenials
Before becoming a senator, Bam Aquino closely worked with the Filipino youth as a former chairman of the National Youth Commission (NYC). When asked what he likes the most about millenials, the so-called generation of selfie and entitlement, he had one word in mind. “[They’re] woke,” he said. On what he doesn’t like about millenials, he added it’s their “instant expectation.”
“Ang pagbabago po sa ating bansa, ‘yung development, hindi po siya instant,” he explained. “It really takes time.”
Glenn Chong’s independence
For some election candidates, endorsement from influential sectors of society could be a make-it-or-break-it moment for their campaign. Not for former Biliran representative Glenn Chong, though. When asked to choose between the endorsement of religious groups and President Duterte during his round of fast talk, Chong quickly asserted his independence. “I will work my way,” he said.
Chel Diokno’s life vest
Atty. Chel Diokno, though low-key and soft-spoken, managed to make the studio crowd, as well as netizens, laugh. During his round of fast talk, he was asked that if a boat was sinking, who would he give the one remaining life vest to: President Rodrigo Duterte or former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Naku, baka sa akin na lang kaya,” he simply said.
Larry Gadon’s “Ayaw sa bobo” tag line
Atty. Larry Gadon capitalized on the viral video of him infamously calling former Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s supporters “bobo” and used the profanity as a tag line in his run for a Senate seat. “Kung talagang gusto natin ng tunay na pagbabago, pumili kayo ng bago na hindi bobo,” he said in his opening spiel.
Hilbay’s unemployment compensation
There has been a lot of suggestions on how to approach the call to end contractualization or endo. Atty. Florin Hilbay, during one of the question-and-answer portions, was asked about what he would do to help workers. While pushing for the Security of Tenure Law, the Tondo born-and-raised lawyer shared a rather fresh suggestion. “Habang wala pa tayong security of tenure, dapat magkaroon tayo ng unemployment compensation para habang tumatawid sa bagong trabaho ang ating mga manggagawa, mayroong ayuda ang pamahalaan at hindi sila naiiwan sa ere,” he explained.
Senate aspirants on medical marijuana
The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes was one of the key topics from yesterday’s debate. While it’s important to know where the Senate aspirants stand regarding the issue as there’s currently a war on drugs in the country, it’s notable how they were also asked if, by any chance, they’ve ever tried marijuana themselves. The candidates predictably said no.
Candidates say yes to term limits
The removal of term limits, which prevent any president to serve more than one term and any senator, more than two terms, was also discussed at the debate. Four candidates, which include Aquino and Chong, as well as civic leader Samira Gutoc and Dr. Willie Ong, all agreed that term limits should remain to prevent abuse of power.
Supporters on pep rally mode
Throughout the debate, crusaders of the candidates were in full “pep rally” mode. Armed with color-coordinated shirts, hats, and posters, they cheered loudly for the Senate aspirants they believe should win. There was support from one candidate to another, too, just like Hilbay’s party to Diokno’s.
What are your thoughts on the senatorial debate?
Watch the full debate here.
The next round of Harapan 2019: The Senatorial Town Hall Debate will telecast live via DZMM Teleradyo, iWanTV, and ABS-CBN’s social media accounts on February 23.
Featured Image by Rio Deluvio