The final Pilipinas debates were a crucial part of all the presidential candidate’s campaign; it was their last chance to showcase their platforms and agendas to a large, unified audience of voters. While the debate analysts believe that Senator Grace Poe was the overall winner of the final debates, netizens consistently picked Duterte as the winner of the three rounds and, of course, as the overall winner.
Here are some important takeaways from the final debates.
“What will the Philippines Look Like After Your Term In 2022?”
This question was meant to help the candidates formulate their opening statement. Each presidentiable was given two minutes to answer.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago told the viewers to expect “uniformity of law” and a modernized agricultural sector.
Davao City Mayor Duterte, on the other hand, placed emphasis on a clean government, a peaceful country, and the successful suppression of drugs.
Next, Vice President Jejomar Binay prophesied he would make the Philippines a prosperous country, and provide a better quality of life for all Filipinos.
After Binay came Senator Grace Poe. She mentioned her stance against an indifferent government - blind to poverty, starvation, and children who could not go to school. She expected her new administration to focus and meet the needs of her citizens.
Lastly, Former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas said that with him, the Philippines will prosper and be full of opportunities.
Yes or No?
One of the most distinguishing features of the third and final presidential debates 2016 was the “fast talk” portion. The main purpose of the segment was for the hosts to ask the candidates questions they could only answer a “yes” or a “no” to, with minimal explanations.
The first candidate to be questioned was Vice President Jejomar Binay. These are the questions, and his answers:
1. If you are elected President, will you send Davao City Mayor Duterte to jail? Binay initially went in circles with his response, before responding with a no.
2. Would you have Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales impeached? Binay answered no, because he envisioned himself to be a “healing and unifying president”.
The next candidate was Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago:
1. Have you won against cancer? She answered that she did not win against cancer, but she has managed to decelerate its progress. She adds that it is difficult to say with cancer cells because they are not seen by the naked eye.
2. Have you ever used medical marijuana? However, she clarified that she was open to allowing it for competent medical use in the country.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was the third candidate for the fast talk portion:
1. What position would you give women as members of your cabinet? Initially, Duterte answered “tourism”, before conceding that smart women may be assigned to the Finance Department, and eventually concluded that women could be in any position.
2. Who is your biggest campaign contributor? Duterte mentioned a person who lived in the countryside by the name of Emilio Aguinaldo.
3. What are your campaign quotes? “Kung takot kang pumatay at mamatay ay wag’ kang mag-presidente.” (If you are afraid of killing criminals or being killed yourself, don’t bother becoming president.)
4. Would you allow Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani? He explains that it is time for the country to forgive and to heal.
5. What would you do if you discovered one of your children was into drugs? He said he would kill them.
Following Duterte was Senator Grace Poe:
1. Will your husband renounce his American citizenship if you were elected as president? Poe declared he already had around a month ago.
2. Would you allow Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani? She says she is ready to forgive.
West Philippine Sea
The candidates offered differing perspectives and solutions to the territorial issue in the West Philippine Sea.
Vice President Jejomar Binay has promised to find a way to resolve the dispute, but has chosen to prioritize securing jobs and livelihoods for the fisherman who have been driven away by the Coast Guard of China. He also mentioned giving these people capital for alternative livelihoods, free healthcare, and assistance in securing their daily needs.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, on the other hand, presents two other avenues for solving the dispute; the first is a legal solution, the second diplomatic. However, she added that if China cannot be convinced to resolve the conflict, she will resort to bombing the coast guard for encroaching on Philippine Seas and depriving fishermen of their livelihoods.