'Candidates proposed dole outs, not policy reforms'

ABS-CBN News

Sunday's PiliPinas Debate saw the five presidential candidates going head to head on various issues affecting Filipinos but political analysts say their answers boiled down to dole outs, not policy reforms.

Speaking on ANC's Headstart on Monday, University of Sto. Tomas Professor Edmund Tayao said "from West Philippine Sea, to health, to Mindanao, it all boils down to dole outs. I was hoping, at the very least, a five-second point on which reform, what reform, how to reform [policies]."

"At the end of the day, the problem in this country is more of systemic, more than the policies and programs which we can’t even implement correctly is precisely because of the key weakness which is structural," he added.

He noted that while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte proposed significant systemic change by proposing federalism, the mayor still failed to reveal the details of his plans.

And while University of the Philippines Diliman Professor Nelson Cainghog agreed with Tayao, he also noted that the candidates were not able to expound fully on their platform details due to time constraints.

"They don’t want to appear complicated before the electorate," he added.

Cainghog said dole outs are to be expected during campaign season because "everyone wants to think of what can they get from these candidates," leading the candidates to promise "giving scholarships for fisherfolk, giving money towards provinces for provincial hospitals, etc."

He also expressed frustration that unlike in other countries where candidates propose policies backed by details and costings, "in the Philippines, we don’t get that."

"Some will promise 'I’m going to do this and just have faith in me.' That’s how it goes in the Philippines."

SKIRTING SEA ROW

For Tayao, the candidates "skirted around the issue" of the West Philippine Sea and the plight of fishermen like Carlo Montehermozo.

He said he was waiting for the keywords 'multi-lateral' or 'bilateral' to be brought up in resolving the debacle, but "no one even thought of either a multi-lateral or bilateral approach so to my mind, they’re being very careful."

Tayao added: "If a candidate only mentions one approach, it means that either he/she does not understand entirely the complication, the comprehensiveness of the issue or that it’s not part of the priorities of the candidate."

Meanwhile, Cainghog said he was satisfied with the candidates' answers except Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago's answer that she will bomb the Chinese Coast Guards.

He suggested a joint fishing venture with China wherein "you do not delineate sovereignty of that particular area but you have a joint management of the fishing stock and the fishing in the area."

Cainghog said dole outs to fisherfolk are justified because resolving the territorial row on an international level "won't put rice on their tables."

He also maintained that "there should be a systemic policy in terms of giving them economic assistance not in the form of dole-outs."

LOSING THE BATTLE, WINNING THE WAR

Tayao said Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas gave the best answers to questions while Santiago and Sen. Grace Poe gave the best parting statements.

Cainghog, meanwhile, said Duterte "lost the debate, the battle but he's winning the war in terms of [his] ratings not being affected."

Fifteen days before the election day, both analysts called out to the people to be more wary of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) instead of focusing solely on the candidates.

"So much attention is focused on the candidates, but...we also have to look closely at how Comelec is running things," said Tayao.

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