LOS ANGELES - Filipino community members from both political parties gathered to watch the third presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. The two candidates touched on foreign policy, economy, government spending, healthcare, and education.
Right after the debate, a CNN poll showed the race still close, with 48 percent declaring Obama winner against 40 percent for Romney.
Rudy de Vera of the Filipino-American Democrats of California said, "It is unbelievable how Obama turned it around from the first debate. I don't think he was ready the first time. He prepared himself this time."
Republican leader Adel Luzuriaga said Romney seemed presidential already. He said, "Look what he's done in Massachusetts. Look at what he's done in his church. The guy produces."
With the race to the White House still close, Filipinos believe the first priority for whoever wins the presidency is to unite both parties. Democrat Adrian Lecaros said, "The next president has to be a candidate for all people, for all people --- for this great democracy of ours to work."
Throughout the past few years, Filipinos have also been pushing for more Filipinos to register and vote. The community says despite the growing population of Filipinos, political participation has lagged.
Republican Edith Fuentes said, "We still have a lot of educating to do, educate the Asian communities that our votes really matter and we could really make a big difference."
Meantime, in Daly City, California, a number of Filipino-American high school and college students watched the last presidential debate.
The most important question for these Fil-Am youth: "Is America safer now compared to four years ago, when Obama took office?"
Fifteen year old Justin Figueroa thinks so. He has an uncle serving in the Air Force and believes Obama has supported the troops in the global fight against terrorism. He said, "It's his job and it's our choices too, that make America safe."
Daniel Martinez, 19, has a sister serving in the National Guard. To this day, he said he does not feel safe in America. He pointed out, "Even if Obama's government was able to execute Osama Bin Laden, Bin Laden has family members that could step up and create more terror."