Comelec is also considering to hold debates in the local level

MANILA, Sept. 27 (PNA) — Aside from the plan to stage presidential and vice presidential debates, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is also looking at holding debates for local candidates in the May 9, 2016 elections.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said they are planning to provide a venue for local candidates to share to the electorate about their platform of government.

“We want these debates to be replicated in the local level,” he said.

With this, Bautista said they are set to issue directives to Comelec field officials to study the plan together with the local media and other stakeholders.

“We will be encouraging the local Comelec offices to hold similar debates on the provincial, city, and municipal level in partnership with the local media as well as with civil society groups,” the poll body chief added.

Last week, the Comelec met with executives of different media organizations and discussed about the idea to conduct presidential and vice presidential debates before the forthcoming polls.

But Bautista noted that the debate is on a voluntary basis as candidates are not compelled to attend the proceedings.

The proposed presidential debates will be done thrice — one in Mindanao (between Feb. 8 and 22); Visayas (between March 8 and 21); and Luzon (between April 12 and 15).

The vice presidential debate will be held in Metro Manila between April 4 and 8.

Among the possible issues to be tackled are agricultural development, poverty reduction, charter change, peace and order, disaster preparedness, healthcare, education, corruption, public transportation, traffic, electoral reforms, foreign policy, tax reform, and national defense.

Section 7 of the Fair Elections Act states that the Comelec “may require national television and radio networks to sponsor at least three national debates among presidential candidates and at least one among vice presidential candidates.” (PNA)