Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Last presidential debate goes to Roxas, say Bicolanos
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, April 25 (PNA) -- Many in the Bicol region chose Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas as the one who shone in Sunday's presidential debate held in Pangasinan in the northern Philippines.

The debate focused on the platforms of the different presidentiables not on their personal issues and they were more serious in convincing people to vote wisely, said Shiena M. Barrameda of Naga City, adding, "Presidential promises sounded so nice. If only expectations become a reality."

Among the presidential candidates, only Roxas and Jejomar Binay manifested years of experience and knowledge of the nitty-gritty of politics and governance, Barrameda said.

The rest, she said, seemingly saw governance as a band-aid solution -- Rodrigo Duterte was messianic, and Grace Poe was fond of motherhood statements.

Ken Tabuena, a grade 9 student of Catanduanes National High School, said: "Mar Roxas is my president, I may not be able to vote yet but being the future leader of tomorrow, I believe that Mar Roxas is the best choice. I listened very carefully to them, He was prepared, emphasized platforms, plans and executed his job perfectly. He got the people's sympathy and with his outstanding wits and knowledge of his profession, it seems that his plans for PhilHealth, 4Ps and many others are practical and beneficial".

Other presidentiables may have some experiences but Roxas has a triumphant card and has clean background, Tabuena added.

"Go, Mar Roxas!, I believe in him, no matter what the survey says. I will devote my time in campaigning for him!" said Jiorgia Jan Tuazon, a civil engineering student.

Avvy Cristabelle Alba, a lawyer, said: "Yes, we all want change, and we want a leader who can make a difference. But come to think of it, we all have what it takes to make a difference in this country. Lack of jobs? Go, be an entrepreneur and give jobs to other Filipinos. Fight and curb corruption? Have integrity and strong sense of self-respect. Problems on healthcare? Volunteer on information dissemination. Show support for other causes. Yes, we cannot address all the concerns of the country, but each of us can do something about it. Stop the blame game and start doing something. I am still undecided but I am sure, I will support the next president. Goodnight, Philippines!"

Lynbee Niebla, however, found the debate boring.

"It was boring, as I had expected, but at least we have come a long way from those days when campaigns are all about songs and dances and other 'paandar'," Niebla said.

Liza Traballo Bonafe, a teacher and a mother, said, "For me, they are all the same. All they want is to make our country a better place to live in but it's too hard to believe in their promises. We, Filipinos, must be more vigilant in this coming election. We must vote wisely according to what our conscience... not because he is popular, he is rich nor she is a mother but has concrete plans for our nation."

Christopher Dy-Liacco Flores -- former mayor, businessman and a father -- assessed each candidate.

He said Binay's experience in governance is his strongest point, policy response is on track and accurate but the corruption issue hounds him without letup -- this is his Achilles' heel.

Poe finally found the "puso" in her, especially on the issue of permanent jobs, Flores said, adding "her recitation and memorization are less apparent tonight but her rehearsed fix and boxed answers are still quite evident."The Albay businessman said Roxas was quite a revelation in the debate with factual and well-studied answers.

Numbers and policy cohesion are very evident. Superiority in policy response is apparent. But the unspoken question is: How come these programs were not implemented?" Flores said.

He noted that it was not the best performance of Duterte in the debate series but he disarmed the people and connected on gut issues.

"The gentlemanly conduct (of Duterte) towards Miriam and Grace are nice counterpoint to his recent controversial statements," Flores noted.

On Santiago, the former Guinobatan town mayor said, "Her brilliance overflows but she falters and has long pauses. Her health problems come to the fore. I miss the old Miriam -- her witty repartees, especially."

He said Roxas won Round 3 while Poe poured out her heart and Duterte connected with the people despite his obvious limitations.

"Duterte lost the debate to Roxas but won the people. One can lose the debate but win the election. Perception is everything in politics," Flores said.(PNA) LAP/FGS/CBD