USC Hosts Its First Senatorial Forum With Mega Cebu
Photo by Lance Matthew Pahang
Mega Cebu, in collaboration with the University of San Carlos (USC), Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated (RAFI), Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and MyTV, organized its first “Klarohay Ta!: The Mega Cebu Candidates Forum” event on March 11, 2019 at the Albert Van Gansewinkel Hall in the USC Downtown Campus. This is one of the many forums that will take place over the course of two months as the 2019 Philippine general election is scheduled to be held on May 13.
The main objective of the forum was to give senatorial, provincial-level and city-level official candidates a platform to promote their agenda and stances on the development of Cebu and the Philippines to the Cebuano voters.
Senatorial candidates who appeared in the forum were Gary Aleajano of the Otso Directso party, Conrado Generoso, Richard Alfajora and Evangeline Abejo of the Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi party. The forum was moderated by Caroline Ballesteros from Mega Cebu and Joeberth Ocao from The Freeman.
The forum began with opening remarks from the candidates, introducing themselves to the students and audience, telling them about their background and the agenda they want to promote in the forum.
Brenette Abrenica, the chair of the Department of Political Science, explained the rules of the forum that must be followed by the candidates. They were requires to formulate their answers within the allocated time of three minutes, with the use of foul language being prohibited. Distribution of political pamphlets are allowed only within the premises of the venue and displaying political banners during the forum were strictly prohibited.
Several citywide and nationwide issues were discussed during the forum.
Generoso was in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in the Philippines as he believes that it would bring equality to the citizens’ right to marry, while Aleajano wass not in favor of same-sex marriage. Abejo is neutral on the issue as it depends on the majority of the Filipino people if they’re in favor of same-sex marriage. Alfajora proposed his idea of deregularizing marriage as he believed that marriage should be done in a private matter in accordance to their beliefs, not done by the state.
On the issue of releasing Pres. Duterte’s Narco-list to the public, Aleajano is against the release while also stating his support for the creation of a commission that would investigate the extrajudicial killings that were committed during the War on Drugs as well as giving reparations to the families of the victims.
As federalism is the main focus of Conarado’s agenda, he strongly believede that it should be implemented while also pointing out that federalism is not a complete solution, but merely a tool to fix the problems of the country. He also claimed that should the country switch to federalism,there will be a “transition president”, a position that the current president will not helm, as well as a transition commission that does not consist of politicians but rather a group of experts in economics. Aleajano said that while he had no problem with federalism, he did not trust the current administration to implement the system.
Most candidates are in favor of the hiring of Chinese workers in the country as long as they obtain the required legal documents.. However, Aleajano said that the country should prioritize their national interests instead.
Conardo is the sole supporter of legalization of marijuana for medical purposes as Aleajano and Alfajora are against it while Abejo is “undecided” on the issue.
The issues that the candidates unanimously agreed on were the importance of honesty in politics and the formation of the Mega Cebu Development Authority. Conarado plans to enact a law as a senator that would begin the construction of the Metro Cebu Light Rail Transit.
Candidates that are expected to appear in the next senatorial forums include Bong Go and Pia Cayetano on March 15, while Imee Marcos is expected to appear on March 18.