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Our Thoughts on the Last Presidential Debate Before the 2016 Philippine Elections

Presidential candidates: Jejomar Binay, Miriam defensor-Santiago, Drodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas. Photo: ABS-CBN screengrab
Presidential candidates: Jejomar Binay, Miriam defensor-Santiago, Drodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas. Photo: ABS-CBN screengrab

ompared to the first two, this debate moderated by ABS-CBN was by far the best. So before anything else, kudos to the folks at ABS-CBN and ANC. Each of the five presidential contenders had ample opportunity to differentiate himself or herself from the rest—which should help voters make more informed choices on election day.

Jejomar Binay
Binay's performance this time was quite good. We like his idea of free schooling for all Filipinos. However, when asked how he could help Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea, we thought his answer naive and ill-advised when he said he would ask China to "allow" our fishermen to fish unimpeded in areas of the West Philippine Sea while the issue is being contested by both nations.

Rodrigo Duterte
Duterte's honesty and sincerity came across loud and clear in this debate. However, his comment about risking death, by getting on a jet ski and planting a Philippine flag on a China-occupied Island located inside the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, seems foolhardy at best. We're not sure what to make of a Duterte presidency; it could be truly great, or truly disastrous.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago
The Lady we saw in this debate was a far cry from the Miriam we knew just a few years ago. She seems to have mellowed-out and slowed down though there was still some of that fire left in her. Despite her protestations to the contrary, her bout with cancer appears to have dulled some of the edginess to her.

Grace Poe
Grace was her usual eloquent self. She appeared confident and fully conversant on all the topics discussed during the debate. Her idea of appointing a "traffic terminator" was music to the ears of Filipino commuters who spend hours on the road each day stuck in traffic.

Mar Roxas
Even more so than previous debates, Mar appeared on top of his game in this debate. He was well versed on all the topics discussed during the debate. He also appeared to put on a more forceful persona compared to his usual soft-spoken, mild-mannered ways. He also played the role of spokesperson for the Aquino administration, touting its achievements and successes. He made no radical pronouncements unlike Santiago and Duterte, and appeared to offer the country a firm steady hand at the helm. He also touted his years of experience in government, differentiating himself from Poe who is sees as lacking in experience.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised that all five candidates appeared to have the best interest of the nation at heart. For us however, Mar Roxas and Grace Poe came out on top as both offered a well thought-out plan for the country. Miriam Santiago appeared to have health issues, Duterte appeared too cavalier, and Binay's plan to negotiate bilaterally with the Chinese ran counter to our stand on that issue. Let us know what you thought of the debate. Published 4/26/2016


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Not Just Rodrigo Duterte, We Pinoys Simply Have a Really Crude Sense of Humor

After being excoriated first by social media, then by the general public, for a boorish and insensitive remark he made in 1989 that happened to be caught on video, Davao City mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte finally admitted it was a mistake. At first he tried to justify it as a seemingly vulgar joke due to his poor and humble upbringing. Published 4/22/2016


China’s Plan B: Binay-Bongbong (Jejomar Binay and Bongbong Marcos)

It’s a high stakes poker game with China placing all its chips on the table, gambling that it can seize unoccupied islets and shoals in the West Philippine Sea - transforming them into man-made artificial islands by pumping sand onto live coral reefs and paving them with concrete, then equipping them with aircraft runways, port facilities and surface-to-air missiles while in the process of exercising total control and dominion over the entire South China Sea - and get away with it. Published 4/16/2016


The CNN Philippines Vice Presidential Debate: Who We Liked, Who We Didn't Like

The CNN vice presidential debate held at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila on April 10, gave Filipino voters the chance to see and hear the top six contenders side be side, answering questions and interacting with one another for well over an hour. Like the millions of Filipinos who watched the debate on television or streamed it from the internet, we were able to form our own fairly distinct opinions about each candidate . Published 4/11/2016


U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, and Cross-dressing Filipino Homosexuals

Filipino males by nature appear more effeminate than males of most other cultures. Behind the facade of the Latin "macho" you'll usually find a soft-spoken, mild-mannered, mama's boy who walks the line between the masculine and the feminine. Published 4/7/2016


Bangladesh Bank Heist, Another Big Embarrassment for the Philippines

The crime syndicate that pulled of this high-tech heist obviously did its homework. They knew how to move millions of dollars clandestinely from the Bangladesh central bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and were to move it to—the Philippines. Published 4/1/2016


Jejomar Binay's Glaringly Unpresidential Performance Before the 2nd Debate

On March 20, 2016 four Philippine presidential contenders had their second debate in University of the Philippines' Cebu campus. The debate, which should have started promptly at 5pm was delayed for well over an hour because one of the contenders, Vice President Jejomar Binay insisted that he be allowed to bring notes and documents with him to the podium. Published 3/24/2016


Filipino-American Republicans and the Donald Trump Phenomenon

A vast majority of Filipinos who migrated to the United States to settle in the many towns and cities that dot the country from coast to coast have for decades bucked the trend followed by most immigrants. Pinoys gravitate towards the Republican Party instead of the Democratic Party. Mexicans and other Latinos for instance, share the same Catholic faith as Filipinos but overwhelmingly vote Democratic. There are also the Vietnamese, Japanese, and Koreans who like Filipinos are Asian, but they lean more towards the Democrats as well. Published 3/21/2016


Choosing Between the United States and China, for a Better Philippines Tomorrow

Some Filipinos say that the United States and China are moving towards a showdown in the South China Sea and the Philippines' best course of action is to remain neutral and get out of the way. The United States Navy has been the dominant power in the Pacific for decades. No other navy even comes close. But China is rapidly developing a blue water navy of its own plus sophisticated long-range missile technology that will soon give the Americans a run for their money. Published 3/17/2016


Dick Gordon, the COMELEC, and the Cost of Not Trusting One Another

One reason the Philippines is such a laggard compared to other nations is because Filipinos simply don't trust one another. And in a way, you really can't blame them because the country has more than its fair share of scams, swindles, rackets, and all manner of nefarious deeds perpetrated by Pinoys on fellow Pinoys. Published 3/13/2016


The Death of Ninoy and Why a Rodrigo Duterte Presidency is Very Dangerous

Go back in time to August 21, 1983. Back to what was then called the Manila International Airport. China Airlines Flight 811 from Taipei, sat on the tarmac awaiting instructions from the tower so its passengers could disembark. On board was former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who had taken a circuitous route back home from the United States. Aquino knew that returning to the Philippines, then ruled by a tyrannical dictator was an extremely dangerous endeavor. Published 3/8/2016


Learning Science Must Become the Philippines' Top Educational Priority

Quick! How many Filipino Nobel laureates can you name? That was a trick question because there aren't any—despite the fact that the Philippines is now the 12th most populous country in the world. There are now more Filipinos than there are Germans, Britons, or French citizens. In fact add up the populations of Portugal, Canada, Libya, and Australia and you'll still come up 25 million short compared to the Philippine population. So we have the numbers, why then don't we have the Nobel prize winners? Published 3/3/2016


Grace Poe, Cory Aquino, and the Failed EDSA Revolution

Thirty years ago, There was euphoria throughout the country, and indeed throughout the world. The Filipino people had kicked out a brutal tyrant and sent him and his entire family packing. And they did this without violence or loss of life. Ferdinand Marcos, a two-bit dictator who thought he and his family owned the Philippines had overplayed his hand and soon found himself inside an American military transport headed for Guam, then Hawaii. Published 2/26/2016


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