Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How do we make Philippine Presidential debates count

Will conducting Philippine Presidential debates actually lead to a more intelligent vote?

Perhaps not.

The majority of the masses will more likely to vote for the person they see on TV, hear on radio, and read about in the tabloids. And, just by listening to the AM radio for about 30 minutes, you can probably assume that it'll either be Mar Roxas, Kabayan Noli De Castro, or Manny Villar.

Nope, the masses don't care if the Comelec is erring in allowing these unregistered Presidential candidates to campaign prematurely.

To make Presidential debates more effective, we should first stop candidates from campaigning prematurely. What we see is a circumvention of the Fair Elections Act, if not an outright violations of the law.

If we ban candidates from appearing in ANY television, radio, or print ad, their only avenue of publicity will be the NEWS and the Presidential Debates.

Anyway, just found this on Uniffors dot com aka Life in Gloria's Enchanted Kingdom.

It's an article from Prospero E. de Vera of Business World, Yellow Pad entitled "Making Presidential Debates Count"

Here's the really good part:
So how do we make presidential debates in the Philippines count? We can have meaningful presidential debates if we:

1) Create an independent non-partisan Campaign Commission that will organize the debates and require candidates to participate. The debates should be done on free (not cable) television and cost-shared by major networks and the government.

2) Bring the debates to the regions to ensure that regional issues are discussed and regional stakeholders can hold side sessions for candidates with their respective constituencies.

3) In the long term, change the way we elect our presidents by including a run-off or primary-type system to reduce the number of candidates. Less candidates means more time for serious and real questions.

4) Finally, work towards reforming the political party system to make sure we have candidates who truly represent constituencies, support significant issues and have substantial platforms.

De Vera, PhD is a Professor of Public Administration, University of the Philippines and a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms (www.aer.ph).

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