USC Hosts Fourth Klarohay Ta! Candidates Forum for 2019 Elections (P.M. Session)
Photo by Keith Ayuman
Mega Cebu, in partnership with the University of San Carlos and the Commission on Elections, along with a handful of private companies and organizations, held the fourth round of its Klarohay Ta! Candidates Forum for the 2019 Elections last March 22, 2019 at the Theodore Buttenbruch Hall of the Downtown Campus. This time, the forum intended to inform Cebuano voters of what the candidates have to offer Cebu, and was attended by party-list representatives from Akbayan and Ako Bisaya.
Before starting off the event, hosts Caroline Balesteros and Dante Luzon addressed the incident that occurred with Larry Gadon during the last forum. Balesteros commented on Gadon’s heated exchange with a student and called it an exercise of democracy, seeing as the youth are now more passionate and caring about the country.
Of the four party-list representatives that were expected to come, the third nominee Akbayan representative, Doris Dinorog-Obena, arrived first and kept the stage to herself for the first few minutes of the forum. She opened her speech by sharing her appreciation for the Klarohay Ta! forums as they encourage proper voters’ education. Dinorog-Obena then went on to speak about the laws that Akbayan had already passed and highlighted their feminist principles. She also emphasized their advocacy of prioritizing the safety and health of Filipino families by means of reducing the prices of goods and offering decent employment, as well as quality education.
Ako Bisaya representative, James Gallerde, spoke about Ako Bisaya’s primary advocacy, which is the preservation of Cebuano culture and language by means of mother tongue-based education and the integration of Cebuano studies until college. Gallerde also explained Ako Bisaya’s intention of prioritizing all Bisaya-speaking areas not only in Visayas, but also in Mindanao.
On death penalty, Dinorog-Obena underscored Akbayan’s humanist stance and explained how the party is not in favor of its restoration because its implementation could turn into an attack on the poor. She went on to say that the country’s flawed justice system needs strengthening and reforms. Meanwhile, Gallerde maintains that a majority of the members of Ako Bisaya are in support of death penalty for heinous crimes like rape and drug cases.
On the legalization of medical marijuana, Dinorog-Obena pointed out that Sen. Risa Hontiveros had already previously proposed for its legalization, so long as it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and prescribed by physicians. Gallerde agreed with Obena’s sentiments and said that he also is in support of its legalization as long as it is regulated.
On federalism, both are in favor as long as the Anti-Dynasty Bill is passed. Dinorog-Obena explained how poor provinces could become poorer if federalism is passed while political dynasties that run deep in our country continue to exist. Gallerde says that immediate family members of politicians should not be allowed to follow in pursuit. The succeeding exchange tackled how there are still loads of complications with the implementation of the bill that are yet to be studied in order to make it effective.
On solutions for traffic in Cebu, Gallerde proposes moratorium on cars and the improvement of the public transport system while Dinorog-Obena suggested that pockets of growth centers must be spread out to neutralize the highly urbanized areas of Cebu. To address the problem of water shortage in Cebu, she also cited the integrated waterworks system in Bohol as an example, while Gallerde proposes the interconnectivity of pipes especially for cities close to Cebu.
On lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility, Akbayan remains strictly against it as many kids who are victims of poverty could be penalized. Meanwhile, Gallerde is in support of lowering the MACR as he explains that kids now are more “open-minded”.
When asked about their perception of our country today, Akbayan representative, Dinorog-Obena, expressed concern for the thousands dead because of the war on drugs, the existing Martial Law in Mindanao, the increased taxes, rice tarrification and poverty. Without missing a beat, Ako Bisaya representative, Gallerde confidently says, “Okay man.” He says he feels safer in his sleep knowing that the government is doing its job under the current administration.
In her closing statement, Dinorog-Obena reinforced Akbayan’s advocacies and stressed the need for accountability among government workers while Gallerde assured voters that the Ako Bisaya party-list will not become members of the committee on silence.
The next forum of Klarohay Ta! on March 25, Monday, will be expecting six senatorial hopefuls: Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Erin Tañada, Neri Colmenares, Ka Leody de Guzman and Pilo Florin Hilbay.