PH Election 2022: Senatorial Candidates Stand on Key Issues

PH Elections 2022: Where Senatorial Candidates Stand on Key Issues

This article is part of The Beat Asia’s coverage of the Philippines’ 2022 elections. To see the rest of our elections-related stories, click here.

As the 90-day campaign season for the 2022 Philippine national elections draws to an end, candidates for the national elections held proclamation rallies day in and day out, combing through the streets and diligently wooing people in various regions of the country.

With a lot of important issues haunting the Philippines, it is only reasonable to become more critical when choosing among the candidates. To become more informed about the candidates’ stances and advocacies, a youth-oriented senate elections forum in partnership with the Commission on Elections held its third leg on March 12.

The 19 senatorial bets who joined the forum are the following:

  • Ibrahim Albani
  • Agnes Bailen
  • Carl Balita
  • Roy Cabonegro
  • John Castriciones
  • Neri Colmenares
  • David D’Angelo
  • Chel Diokno
  • Luke Espiritu
  • Win Gatchalian
  • Richard “Dick” Gordon
  • Samira Gutoc
  • Risa Hontiveros
  • Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog
  • Alex Lacson
  • Sonny Matula
  • Astra Pimentel
  • Antonio Trillanes IV
  • Carmen Zubiaga

Meanwhile, Antique Representative Loren Legarda withdrew her participation. According to a Pulse Asia survey released on April 6, Legarda was the second most likely senate candidate to be elected, following in the footsteps of broadcaster Raffy Tulfo at the top spot.

The poll was conducted last March 17 to 21 among 2,400 respondents. The rankings also include Alan Peter Cayetano on the third place, followed by Chiz Escudero, Mark Villar, Win Gatchalian, Migz Zubiri, Joel “Tesdaman” Villanueva, Robin Padilla, Jojo Binay, Jinggoy Estrada, JV Estrada Ejercito, Risa Hontiveros, Herbet “Bistek” Bautista, and Gringo Honasan.

The panelists of the forum include University of the Philippines School of Economics Associate Professor Cielo Magno, Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Governance and former Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio La Viña, and Louie Benedict Ignacio of the University of Santo Tomas’ Department of Political Science.

The Rundown 2022: Pagkilala

The forum began with the “Pagkilala” segment wherein each candidate (in reverse alphabetical order) was given 60 seconds to make their opening statements and promptly answer the question: “Should you be elected, what would be your priority legislation?”

Below is the summary of each senatorial candidates’ answers:

1. Carmen Zubiaga – National Rehabilitation Act

2. Antonio Trillanes IV – Post-COVID Recovery Economic Program; Mandatory streaming and video recording of public biddings; Removal of exemption of government officials on bank secrecy law; Amendment of Anti-Terror Act to remove unconstitutional provisions

3. Astra Pimentel – OFW programs including pension plan, ready access to housing and education programs for their children; strengthening of the tourism industry; issues and concerns involving indigenous tribes, women, and the youth; federalization of the Philippine constitution.

4. Sonny Matula – financial aid assistance, employment safety against COVID-19, unemployment insurance, subsidy for small businesses, job regularization, increase of salary among workers, national minimum wage, respect for human rights.

5. Alex Lacson – National Dairy Program; Cooperative farming on livestock and vegetables; Youth Entrepreneurship Center; radical reforms on politics and economy based on the book he’s written.

6. Elmer Labog – Increase of salary and national minimum wage; abolition of contractualization.

7. Risa Hontiveros – Healthy buhay at Hanap buhay; fight for corruption and support for youth and women’s rights; Anti-hospital detention law; balik trabaho ligtas law; bibong barangay health workers bill.

8. Samira Gutoc – Magna Carta on Crisis, Calamity, and COVID response; Importance of women in taskforce management

9. Win Gatchalian – Oversight of existing laws on K to 12 programs, Excellence in Teacher Education Act, and EDCOM 2 (assessment of Philippine education system)

10. Richard Gordon – Refiling reforms on regional investment and infrastructure coordination hub

11. Luke Espiritu – Anti-poverty policies including the abolition of manpower agencies and regional wage boards; Economic policies of lowering the cost of living among laborers; Protection of democracy and respect for women and LGBTQ rights.

12. Chel Diokno – Free legal services among local communities; National Food Security Law to protect farmers and fishermen; 10-point education agenda

13. David D’Angelo – Climate emergency act against environmental crisis; monitoring/banning of mining; creation of green and affordable energy, educational reform, organic and food sovereignty.

14. Neri Colmenares – Laws on free medicine and hospitalization

15. John Castriciones – COVID-19 program; food sufficiency through agricultural properties.

16. Roy Cabonegro – Allocate more funds to climate change adaptation; 100% shift renewable energy by 2040; conservation of 30% of coastal areas by 2030; 45% of the islands reforested by 2030; 500% increase on research and development budget; 100% shift to organic food sovereignty by 2030; urbanization by 2050 towards “green communes” or green housing for poor families; mining moratorium; and recognized the ancestral domains.

17. Carl Balita – Omnibus positive practice environment act for healthcare workers; EDCOM 2.0; Micro-enterprise commission; Nuclear Emergency and Resiliency Act

18. Agnes Bailen– Reorganization of the government budget

19. Ibrahim Albani – Create more jobs; Cooperativism platform between the government and local barangays.

The Rundown 2022: Yes or No Segment

During the yes or no segment, some of the key issues were asked and here are their answers:

  • Legalizing abortion – Only Cabonegro and Castriciones voted yes while Gutoc did not answer
  • Mandatory military service for young Filipinos – Albani, Bailen, Castriciones, Gatchalian, and Pimentel answered yes
  • Lowering of corporate income tax – Bailen and Castriciones voted yes; Gutoc and Zubiaga did not answer
  • Repeal of anti-terror law – Bailen, Castriciones, Gatchalian, and Pimentel answered no (clarification: Zubiaga yes)
  • Effectivity of President Duterte’s war on drugs – Albani, Castriciones, Gatchalian, and Pimentel answered yes
  • Death penalty – Gatchalian and Pimentel voted yes; Albani no answer
  • Adopting federal system of government – Colmenares, Diokno, Espiritu, Gatchalian, Gordon, Labog, Trillanes, and Zubiaga answered no
  • Anti-balimbling bill passage – everyone voted yes except for Zubiaga who did not answer
  • Legalization of motorcycle taxis or habal habal – only Zubiaga answered no
  • Effectivity of the K to 12 program – Cabonegro, Castriciones, Diokno, Gatchalian, Hontiveros, Lacson, Pimentel, and Trillanes voted yes. Gutoc did not answer
  • Changing of PUV’s service contract system – everyone voted yes
  • Public access on government officials SALNs-everyone voted yes
  • Prohibition on ENDO – everyone voted yes
  • Allowing politicians with pending cases to run in the office – Albani, Balita, Cabonegro, Castriciones, Colmenares, Gutoc, Hontiveros, and Labog voted no
  • Effectivity of government’s COVID-19 pandemic response - Castriciones, Gatchalian, and Pimental voted yes

Watch the replay of The Rundown 2022: A Youth-Oriented Senate Elections Forum below.

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