The Commission on Elections will hold a series of panel interviews with presidential and vice presidential candidates next week as part of its voter information campaign in the May 9 elections.
The panel interviews will be take the place of a town hall debate with the presidential and vice presidential bets, which was supposed to be the final event of the PiliPinas Debates 2022.
Two presidential and two vice presidential candidates have so far confirmed their participation in the panel interviews, Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia told reporters, with the deadline for confirmation set for 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The Comelec is partnering with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas for the event which is expected to air in various television and radio stations in the country.
Where and when will the interviews air?
The panel interviews will air from 10 a.m. to 12 noon from May 2 to 6, according to the guidelines issued by the Comelec.
At least nine broadcast networks have signified their intention to air the interviews:
- Manila Broadcasting Company
- Bombo Radyo Philippines
- Radio Mindanao Network
- ABS-CBN (Teleradyo and ANC)
- TV5 (One PH and OneNews)
- CNN Philippines
- Radyo Pilipino
- Primax Broadcasting
- Vanguard Broadcasting
The panel interviews will be live and in-person, live and via teleconference, or taped as live with no edits depending on the candidate's availability.
Candidates may attend the interview solo or with other bets, Garcia said.
The date and order of the candidate interviews will be determined through raffle, Garcia said, which means the first candidate to confirm his or her attendance will not automatically get the first interview on May 2.
Garcia said the panel interviews will push through whether or not all candidates agreed to participate. The campaign team of presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos earlier said he would not take part in the interviews due to tight campaign schedules.
"Tuloy pa rin ang ating forum --- one-on-one interview o kung sila ay dalawa, panel interview --- regardless kung tatlo lang sila, apat lang sila, kahit hindi sila kumpleto, we will still proceed. That is the commitment likewise ng KBP," he added.
Who are the panel members?
Veteran journalists from various networks will make up the panel for the Comelec interviews, including:
- Rico Hizon (CNN)
- Pinky Webb (CNN)
- Cesar Chavez (MBC)
- Angelo Palmones (MBC)
- Deo Macalma (MBC)
- Elmar Acol (Bombo Radyo)
- Jane Buna (Bombo Radyo)
- Pia Hontiveros (CNN)
- Ricky Rosales (CNN)
- Karmina Constantino (ABS-CBN)
- Jay Taruc (TV5)
- Cheryl Cosim (TV5)
- Ed Lingao (TV5)
- Tony Velasquez (ABS-CBN)
Several panels composed of three persons each will be assembled for the interviews and will be assigned by KBP with the Comelec's concurrence. The assignment of a panel to the specific candidate will be determined by drawlots.
What is the format of the interviews?
Each interview will begin with the candidates' opening statement which will include their response to the question: "Paano mo iaaahon ang Pilipinas sa mga hamon at krisis na hinaharap nito ngayon?”
The interview proper will have three segments. The first will discuss the topic of inflation and poverty and employment, salary, livelihood, and business, while the second is all about education, healthcare and COVID-19 response.
The third segment will touch on "hot button issues", including red-tagging, press freedom, attacks on civil society, attacks on mainstream media, fake news, electronic gambling, electoral reforms, gender issues, political dynasties, disasters, nuclear energy, resurrecting the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, foreign policy, judicial reforms, appointees, among others.
The last part of interview will include the candidates' closing statement answering the question: “Ano ang magiging tatak ng administrasyon mo? At paano mo masisiguro na bubuti ang buhay ng bawat Filipino sa anim na taon mong panunungkulan?”
Garcia urged candidates to take the opportunity to attend the interviews as this will give them free airtime to present their platforms to the people.
"This is your last hurrah... So try to imagine the missed opportunity. Nagbabayad nga sila para ilabas yung 30 seconds nila, ang mahal. Ito, libreng isang oras na walang ibang makikita kundi sila," he said.
"So we're hoping na sana i-grab nila yung opportunity na ito. One hour ito for free, walang kinakailangang i-report sa SOCE (Statement of Campaign Expenses), hindi babayaran sa BIR, walang consequence," he added.