THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday formally signed a deal with the Philippine’s broadcasters association for the one-on-one interviews with candidates for the country’s top two positions, a substitute event for the cancelled last round of debates.
The election agency announced on Monday that the supposed third round of debates would be modified into a panel-interview format following the failure of their private partner, Impact Hub Manila, to comply with about P14 million of its financial obligations to the venue, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
Comelec has turned to the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) for assistance in organizing the final event.
KBP, a non-government and non-profit organization of broadcast media in the country, held its own presidential forum in February that tackled subjects such as unemployment, corruption, and foreign relations.
“The Comelec decided to adopt this taped interview format because informing the public about their candidates is imperative for an informed and wise vote,” Comelec Chairman Saidamen B. Pangarungan said at the signing ceremony held at the Comelec office in Manila.
“This is also to overcome the challenge of scheduling with the candidates because we are aware that their schedules are full for the final days of the campaign.”
The national and local elections will be on May 9.
Aside from the president and vice president positions, the electorate will also be voting for 12 senators, party-list groups, district-based congressional representatives, provincial governors, mayors, vice mayors, and local council members.
Also on Thursday, Comelec signed a deal with state run People’s Television Network (PTV4) for the production and airing of programs on election procedures and the candidates.
“PTV4 in partnership with Comelec, at this crucial juncture, agrees to deliver quality television shows that will provide the electorate more opportunities to create an informed choice,” Mr. Pangarungan said at the event held at the Manila Hotel.
“On election day, PTV4 coverage will also be a partner of the Comelec to inform the public of important information to guide them in the exercise of their civic duties,” he said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez