Candidates’ forum exchange proposals not hold debates

No election debates, but mere discussion of respective platforms. This novelty is expected to upgrade and improve voters' education of the real issues in an election. Debates can be self destructive. But dialogue on issues is the more productive way to elected new breed of public officials.

Instead of holding heated debates on stage, the Diocesan Electoral Board has launched the candidates forum wherein different candidates in their categories exchange views on who has a better platform that will benefit the people more.

The Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) has scheduled series of candidates’ forums in Negros Oriental from April 5 to May 3 for this year’s synchronized May 13 national and local elections.

DEB convenor, Rev Msgr Julius Perpetuo Heruela said the forum aims to provide a non-partisan and free venue for candidates to present their qualifications, platforms or programs of government and give local candidates and residents a chance to discuss the various issues affecting their communities.

For the opening salvo of the candidate’s forum will start on April 5, Friday at 7:00 pm for the 2nd district congressional candidates with three candidates, two gubernatorial, and two vice-gubernatorial candidates to present themselves to the public/voters at Quezon Park, Dumaguete City.

All forums set by DEB will be an ‘out-door’ candidates’ forum or at the public plaza with a live coverage over DYWC as the anchor radio station for those stations who wish to hook up.   A live-stream will also be done through Facebook Live at Diocesan Electoral Board and PIA Negros Oriental FB fan pages.

This is to give wider audience-voters awareness and allow local resident ample opportunity to know their candidates better.

Other scheduled dates include April 10 for Dumaguete City mayoral and vice-mayoral candidates at Quezon Park, Dumaguete City; April 22 – 1st district congressional representative, gubernatorial, vice-gubernatorial, & Provincial Board in Jimalalud; on April 26- 3rd  district cong. representative, gubernatorial, vice-gubernatorial,  and provincial board to be held in Siaton; April 29 – 14 candidates for provincial board 2nd  district  in Dumaguete City;

While for the 1st batch of nine Dumaguete City Councilor-candidates will be on May 1; and on May 3 for  2nd batch of eight city councilor-candidates to be held at Quezon Park, this city.

Heruela said the candidates are expected to deliver a five to four-minute speech to introduce themselves and their platforms of government after which an open forum will immediately follow through a multi-sectoral panel of reactors.

After all the candidates have given their introductory speeches, an open forum will follow during which the panel of reactors will throw their questions to the candidate they wish to ask.

Candidates will be given two minutes to answer the question. But, there will be a timer – a warning ring will be sounded a minute before the time is up, and at the last ring to end the answer or discussion.

The audience can ask only by writing their questions on a piece of paper or text it to the designated cellphone numbers provided during the forum.

These questions shall be passed through the panel of reactors who shall screen the contents of the question being asked. No personal or privately sensitive questions will be allowed. Questions must relate only to the qualifications, plans, platform or program of government of the candidate concerned.

This activity also aims to raise the level of consciousness of voters towards a clean, honest, accountable, meaningful and peaceful election (CHAMP).

The Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) is composed of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), Commission on Elections (Comelec), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army, Department of Education (DepEd), BEC, BCBP, LENTE, KBP, Social Action Center, among others.

The DEB urge all candidates to keep the issues at a high level and focus on the interest of the people in a platform-led campaign and employ the media as a means of enlightenment.

The Comelec also urge political leaders from all sides at all levels to adhere to the democratic process and follow the road of sobriety and prudence to achieve honest, orderly, peaceful elections (HOPE). (By Jennifer Tilos/PIA7-Negros Oriental)