As campaign season heats up, it pays to know where our candidates stand on several issues that Filipinos confront. After all, they are wooing us for our votes. If we do not know how they stand on things that matter to us, we cannot make an informed decision on who to vote for on May 13.

GRAPHICS: Vince Cenete

[SUMMARIZED]

Raffy Alunan

Fought against:

  • Terrorism
  • Criminality
  • Poverty
  • Rebellion
  • Corruption

Supported:

  • Policies focused on reform, especially social reform.

Experience with:

  • Tourism Development
  • Governance
  • National Security
  • International Relations

Neri Colmenares

In his own words, he has been a:

Congressman, human rights lawyer, activist who has a track record of always having the interest of the people in mind, not letting his principles change overtime, and using his voice as an activist to influence change.

In Congress, he filed bills:

  • Against high market prices
  • On high pension
  • Increasing salary

Passed laws, like:

  • A PHP2000 increase on SSS pension, which he aims to still fight for if elected in the senate.

Samira Gutoc

  • A co-drafter of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (Republic Act No. 11054) passed last Monday, by 1.2 million votes.
  • A mother, survivor, “at sana po isusulong ang tahanang mapayapa.”
  • Rescue team worker, due to the humanitarian crisis brought by the Marawi siege involving half a million people of Lanao del Sur and Marawi City.
  • A lawmaker of the Autonomous Region, where she pushed for Freedom of Information (FOI) and Education act.
  • A Bangsamoro Transmission Commission (BTC) commissioner, pushed the rights of Christians and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) to live in harmony in the Bangsamoro population.

Florin Hilbay

“My entire professional life has been lived in service of the nation.”

  • “A non-politician running for public office.”
  • 1999 Bar Exams Topnotcher (1st)
  • Worked as a law professor at the University of the Philippines for 18 years
  • Worked alongside Senator Salonga on Bantay Katarungan
  • Appointed as Senior State Solicitor in 2013, winning the argument before the Supreme Court regarding the RH law.

As Solicitor General:

  • Took back 71 billion of the coconut levy funds now surrendered to the nation’s budget.
  • Stood as agent and council to the Republic in Philippines vs China (West Philippine Sea issue), and won the case.

Harry Roque

  • A law professor at UP for 15 years
  • As a spokesperson, he claims: “Binigyan ko po ng importansya ang karapatan ng tao dun sa tinatawag na freedom of information.”
  • A lawmaker that in his years in Congress, passed many of the major legislation enacted by the 17th Congress namely: Universal Healthcare (libreng pagamot), libreng irigasyon, and libreng tanghalian sa nagugutom na kabataan.
  • Pushed for free tuition in SUCs
  • Free Wifi

In the Supreme Court:

  • order/s declaring that the first state of national emergency is against the constitution
  • order/s declaring the first writ of amparo for journalists
  • writ of kalikasan in protection of Boracay

Mar Roxas

  • Retired politician coming back to office
  • First known to the public as “Mr. Palengke” where he monitored prices to remain affordable
  • Cheaper Medicine Law (mostly on maintenance medicines)
  • Tax removal for minimum wage workers and OFWs
  • Created jobs particularly in DTI, BPO industry
  • Believes that the country can progress farther: “Hindi ako kuntento na hanggang sa kahirapan na lang o sa kulelat ang Pilipinas.

Erin Tañada

  • Started as a student leader, influenced by his dad and grandfather: “Kung gusto mong maglingkod sa bayan, kailangan kang makinig sa problema ng ating mamamayan.”
  • Human Rights lawyer for farmers and workers
  • Helped with issues regarding the coconut levy fund and laws, specifically universal healthcare and cheaper medicine

Lowering the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

Harry Roque, Mar Roxas, Raffy Alunan

HR: Against lowering the MACR to 9 years old, but voting for it to be at 12 years old.

MR: Against. “The law as it exists right now has not worked to its full extent.”

RA: Neutral, but pushes for prevention and accountability of parents to their children. Points out that the 57 juvenile centers in the country (supposedly 114) are not enough.

Re-Imposing Death Penalty for Drug-Related Crimes

For: Alunan

Against: Roxas, Hilbay, Tañada, Roque, Gutoc, Colmenares

Solving the Country’s Drug Problems

Former DILG Secretaries Raffy Alunan and Mar Roxas

MR:

  • Rehabilitation centers, doctors, and experts to help drug addicts.
  • On the law enforcement side: misdirection of arrests, big suppliers/couriers not held accountable while those in poverty that are involved, are.  
  • Supports the usage of intelligence funds in determining location of drug laboratories and names of drug funders.

RA:

  • Reform the criminal justice system
  • Strengthen our laws, like the human security act and the revised penal codes
  • Provide or render swift justice: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
  • Division of labor: “Society takes care of its addicts, while the government takes care of the syndicates.”
  • Impose death penalty on drug-related crimes particularly on drug syndicates undermining society and the government

On Inflation

Making the prices of basic goods and services more stable

Samira Gutoc, Erin Tañada, Florin Hilbay

SG: “Inflation can be addressed by giving cushions and safeguards to how we implement our economic policies. Dapat po ang mahihirap ang lalong bibigyan ng polisiya: how do they survive under the circumstances?”

ET:

  • Know where the inflation rise came from. In his opinion: TRAIN 1, “Sana mas naipaliwanag muna ang excise tax of 2019 at ng 2018.”
  • Safety nets alongside TRAIN 1 until now are not fully implemented: call to suspend excise taxes.

FH:

  • To blame: TRAIN and increase for prices for rice,which the government could have prevented or managed. .
  • “Ang bawat batas ay kompromiso.” TRAIN is “unconstitutional.” Higher ups not that affected, middle and lower classes heavily affected.

Bringing down price of rice and protecting rice farmers

Neri Colmenares, Harry Roque, Mar Roxas

NC:

  • To blame: The government’s lack of support to agriculture, and inflation affecting more than just rice prices, due to high taxes on commodities.
  • Stop rice cartels that manipulate to spike the price hike of rice and other necessities.

HR:

  • Rice tariffication act: it is important to lower the price of rice.
  • In his opinion: “Kung kulang talaga ang ating produksyon ng bigas, tayo’y kumalap sa mga ibang bansa.”
  • Role of NFA: payment to foreign farmers to equal with local farmers, and fight corruption in the system.

MR:

  • Highlights existence of Filipino farmers over those of other countries: they can produce our rice needs
  • Important: provide help to the farmers, “Murang pautang para ‘di sila baon sa utang…Di pa nila natatanim yung kanilang sasakahin, naiutang at nabenta na nila.”
  • The need for the improvement of post-harvest facilities

Congress to Compel President Duterte to Make His Medical Records Public
For: Colmenares, Gutoc, Roxas, Tañada, Hilbay

Against: Alunan, Roque

On Traffic

Neri Colmenares, Erin Tañada, Samira Gutoc

NC:

Main problems: Privatization of transportation (e.g. MRT: high prices of fare), Corruption in traffic, lack of roads

Solutions: Public Mass Transportation funded by the government, decongestion of Metro Manila

ET: Public Mass Transportation, lessen buses in EDSA: If possible, one bus company only, and for long-term, look into the minimum wage of the whole country to disperse people to provinces.

SG: Cascading opportunities in the provinces: How probinsyanos can access jobs in the provinces, since many are applying in Metro Manila and most government offices are in the NCR, transfers.

On Labor

Protecting Filipino workers, ensuring they’re not denied jobs they are qualified for

.Florin Hilbay, Raffy Alunan, Harry Roque, Mar Roxas

FH: “…I think there is a responsibility within government for allowing a substantial number of Chinese workers to work illegally, and now they’re about to compete with Filipino workers, and ang rhetoric ng ating pamahalaan ngayon ay wala pa daw skilled workers na Filipino kaya naman nakakapasok yung mga Chinese workers dito. I think it’s demeaning to Filipino workers and it’s justification of the corruption that is associated with the influx of Chinese workers here.”

RA:

  • Workers from China: online gambling industry, mining industry, construction industry.
  • We have skilled [Filipino] workers for the construction and mining industry.
  • Online gambling is a problem
  • Human smuggling, porous borders, and bribing of Customs are problems
  • The government can take measures to prevent this

HR: Calling the need for more studies and inventory regarding the issue: “Ang trabaho sa Pilipinas ay para po sa mga Pilipino…ang tanong, meron ba talagang mga sapat na mangagawa lalong lalo na dun sa mga industriyang nangangailangan?”

MR: “No to Chinese workers coming in and replacing Filipinos.”

Air Traffic Congestion

Neri Colmenares, Samira Gutoc, Erin Tañada

NC: “It’s in the design mismo [of the tarmac]”, but more than that, he highlights the need for infrastructures like airports somewhere outside Metro Manila, and fast transportation to the to and from that place.

SG: Readiness of the management especially during holidays, and planning to expand the availability of airports in places like Subic, or other provinces.

ET: Political will: the past administration should have seen the need for new airports for a country with a growing population.

Is the media of this country under threat?

Yes: Colmenares, Gutoc, Roxas, Tañada, Hilbay

No: Alunan, Roque

Do you believe BOL will help establish long-lasting peace and uplift lives of Filipinos in Mindanao?

YES: Gutoc, Roxas, Tañada, Hilbay, Alunan, Roque

NO: Colmenares

Martial Law in Mindanao

Samira Gutoc, Raffy Alunan

SG: No. There is no invasion, there is no lawless rebellion. Martial Law is uncalled for.

RA: Martial Law is favored by the people of Mindanao…they consider it as a preventive measure.

Compiled and summarized: Marielle Fatima B. Tuazon (Source: CNN Philippines #TheFilipinoVotes, 27 January 2019)


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