The third and final session of the Harapan 2019 Senatorial Town Hall Debates was split into two last March 3, Sunday, with underdog candidates taking to the stage first as they introduced themselves and their platforms to the public.
The first batch from the third Harapan 2019 included the following:
- Shariff Albani (Labor Party Philippines)
- Gerald Arcega (Labor Party Philippines)
- Atty. Marcelino Arias (Labor Party Philippines)
- Jonathan Baldevarona (Filipino Family Party)
- Jesus Caceres (independent)
- Melchor Chavez (Labor Party Philippines)
- Charlie Gaddi (independent)
- Emily Mallillin (independent)
- Atty. Jose Matula (Labor Party Philippines
- Luther Meniano (Labor Party Philippines)
- Atty. Allan Montaño (independent)
Because most, if not all, of these candidates just passed through the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) screening of “nuisance candidates” – their names and stands on several issues circling the nation are not as well-known. As such we’ve summarized some key responses to help you get to know them, and if they have convinced you to vote for them come May 13.
The first law they’ll implement
Albani wishes to put up an Ecumenical or Interfaith department, in order to unite Christians, Muslims, and natives. Arias and Matula want to put an end to Endo and to change profit sharing in order to increase the middle class; Arias also plans to push for freedom of information in order to erase corruption.
Caceres plans to make license renewal for teachers last for five years, and to increase incentives and allowances. Gaddi wants to push for federalism as he believes it is the system that will bring about real change to the country, while Montaño wants to give attention to poverty and establish an OFW Investment Fund.
Public transportation improvement
Arias‘ plan to improve public transportation is to add more elevated highways to EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) as it will “decrease the difficulties of marginalized workers.” Caceres suggests being strict on the number of private cars and on traffic enforcers, and to add more cars to the MRT (Metro Rail Transit).
Gaddi reinforced his belief in federalism as for him public transportation can be politically solved through infrastructures; federalism would would allow companies and manufacturers to not just focus on Metro Manila. Meanwhile Chavez suggests phasing out all cars in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao that are 12 years old and above.
Meniano plans to rehabilitate the MRT and LRT (Light Rail Transit), observe good maintenance through government funds, and more infrastructures along EDSA such as bus terminals. Montaño wants to pass a law that will ban private cars from being on the roads at certain times; he, Matula, and Albani agree that the president should be given special powers to add more MRT cars, if not more trains.
Baldevarona wishes to look closely at both long-term and short-term jobs in order to see what needs protection and can be contracted properly. Caceres stated the need for more jobs in the provinces, as more competition in the regions will provide job security.
Matula wants to bring back the Strengthening the Right to Security of Tenure and End of Endo Act that his group proposed and submitted to Congress, but still has not been passed by the Senate. Montaño suggests creating more jobs through the OFW Investment Fund, as there is an abundance of job agencies with limited available jobs.
Candidates’ opinion on Chinese workers
Chavez says only Chinese individuals who are contracted with the government and the president should remain in the country. Gaddi suggests regulation of Chinese workers being allowed in the country, while Malililin suggests deporting any Chinese individual with criminal cases.
Matula wants to make a law that will impose a heavy penalty on employers who illegally recruit Chinese workers, while Meniano wants a better look at the rules and regulations done by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and how limited Filipino workers are when compared to Chinese workers.
Service for the youth
Meniano wants to give focus on livelihood, sports, and education to improve the live of children, and followed up with the proper display of discipline. Gaddi states the need for capability building for youth empowerment, citing to prepare them for skills such as technology.
Montaño wants to push for strengthening the Security of Tenure Bill as many of its victims are the youth. Arcega advocates for cooperatives that involves children, but cites the need for free education. Caceres, who has served as an SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) Chairman, wishes that the SK would not be abolished; it is important for him that the youth have a voice in the government, and that they will learn proper governance and morality.