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candidates and “elitist” debates

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a debate for the senatorial candidates at the Manila Hotel.  The topics of the debate were reportedly on economics and business which is understandable considering that the organizers are businessmen.

But the debate wouldn’t push through…just because the candidates refused to participate in it.

To be fair, most of the candidates interviewed by the press say that they welcomed the opportunity but it was their party’s decision not to participate. On my way home from work yesterday, I caught part of an interview with GO’s campaign manager, JV Ejercito. When asked why GO declined PCCI’s invitation, these were Ejercito’s replies:

1)  The venue was too elitist. Bakit hindi daw ilapit sa masa yung debate?

2) The audience were elitist. Bakit hindi hayaang mapanood ng masa ang debate?

(I wasn’t able to finish the interview since my cab driver, who was probably as disgruntled as I was, changed the station.)

Fine. GO is so “maka-masa“. Nobody’s contesting that. But since you don’t see anyone organizing any other debates, why not welcome the opportunity provided by the businessmen?  Is it so morally wrong to debate in an “elitist” place such as Manila Hotel surrounded by “elitist” businessmen?  It would have been a perfect avenue for the candidates to present their economic platforms (that is, if they had any.)  The event would definitely be covered by the press so most probably, the debate will eventually reach the masses that JV’s so concerned about.

Another thing, Ejercito mentioned that the more important issue to debate about is the corruption of the present government and the cheating that occured in the last elections. Yes, they’re important issues BUT they are not the only issues faced by our country.  Again, what is so wrong about debating on economic issues? Discussing one issue doesn’t necessarily mean that we would completely forget the other stuff.

I don’t know TU’s reasons for not participating in the debate. But as a citizen, I cannot and would not accept any excuse.  I want to know if my candidates are capable of running for public office.  I want to know their plans and what they plan to do with my country. I want to know that these people can do more than dance and smile on TV. 

Categories: politics
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