The second of three Harapan 2019 Senatorial Town Hall Debates took place last Feb. 24 featuring a new batch of aspiring candidates who shared their platforms and stands on current issues.
The second batch of Harapan 2019 included the following:
- Former Pagsanjan, Laguna mayor Abner Afuang (Labor Party)
- House Representative Gary Alejano (Magdalo)
- Atty. Neri Colmenares (Makabayan)
- Agnes Escudero (Independent)
- Former Con-Com spokesperson Ding Generoso(Katipunan Party)
- Atty. Romulo Macalintal (independent)
- Former senator Mar Roxas (Liberal Party)
- Former Quezon congressman Erin Tanada (Liberal Party)
Again the participating candidates brought up some key points that may prove beneficial senior citizens, we’ve summarized some of them below to help you narrow down the 12 names you’ll be shading off in your May 2019 ballot.
Romy Macalintal, Mr. Senior Citizen
In his opening statement, Macalintal said he envisioned a senate that wouldn’t steal from the “pork barrel”, and would not misuse government funds.
Some of the laws he wished to enforce “with instant impact” focused on changing the discounts offered for senior citizens according to their age groups – 70-year olds would receive 30% discounts, 80-year olds would receive 40%, and 90-year olds would get 50%.
From taxes to social services
One of the issues that was brought back from the previous Harapan 2019 session was the inflation of products prices. Colmenares suggested implementing a law that would exclude basic livelihood bills (electricity, water, and oil) from the value-added tax or VAT and repeal the encise tax of the TRAIN law.
An additional solution that Colmenares gave was to eradicate the cartels who are manipulating price inflation. “Napakaraming pondo ang gobyerno hindi na kailangan magpataw ng tax (There are so many government funs that don’t even need to be taxed)” said the lawyer, and suggested that these funds be used instead for social services.
Alejano says no
During the Fast Talk segment of Harapan 2019, just about all of Alejano’s responses were a resounding “no.” He said that there were no traitors or arguments in the Magdalo party, that he was not in favor of appointing retired military officers into high government positions, nor would he accept a Cabinet position from President Duterte.
Alejano also said he was not in favor of same-sex marriages, medical marijuana, divorce, and federalism; he expounded on the latter that the country was not yet ready for it, and “ang mayayaman ay lalong yayaman, ang mahirap lalong hihirap (the rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer)”.
Other Fast Talk answers
Tanada was also not in favor of federalism due to its negative effects, and rather than divorce was in favor of civil union partnerships. He was however in favor of medical marijuana. Escudero on the other was not in favor of both medical marijuana and divorce, even if faced with an abusive relationship for the latter.
As the former Con-Com spokesperson, Generoso defended federalism with his responses, while Afuang did not agree. On the issue of lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility, Afuang, Colmenares, and Roxas were not in favor. Macalintal was not in favor of same-sex marriage, but would instead respects the rights of another.
Check out our piece on key points from the first Harapan 2019 Senatorial Town Hall Debate!