MANILA - The candidates who joined the third "Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate" on Sunday came from the ranks of lawyers, laborers and entrepreneurs.
Shariff Albani, Gerald Arcega, Marcelino Arias, Jonathan Baldevarona, Jesus Caceres, Melchor Chavez, Charlie Gaddi, Emily Mallillin, Jose Matula, Luther Meniano and Allan Montaño bared the measures they will prioritize should they be elected in the upcoming May 2019 elections.
If elected, Shariff Albani of the Labor Party Philippines said he will push for the establishment of an ecumenical or interfaith department to address the issue of disunity in the country.
"Ang solusyon dito, kailangan magkaisa ang mga Muslim, Christian at mga katutubo sapagkat 'yun lamang ang tunay na sagot, nakikita ko, ang tunay na sagot sa tunay na pagbabago at tunay na kapayapaan ng Inang Bayan, wala na pong iba," he said.
Also from the Labor Party Philippines, Gerald Arcega said he will push for death penalty for corrupt public officials should he be elected as senator.
"Bitayin ang mga corrupt," he said.
A lawyer and pastor, Marcelino Arias said he will push the eradication of labor-only contractualization and replace it with profit-sharing.
"Upang 'yung maliliit, tumaas naman. Profit-sharing para madagdagan ang middle class," he said.
Arias also said he will push for freedom of information to fight corruption.
A candidate from the Filipino Family Party, Jonathan "Balde" Baldevarona said he will push for a law that will strengthen the Filipino family.
"Kung mapapansin po natin, ang ating mga batas para sa pamilya ay hiwa-hiwalay, may para sa mga bata, may para sa matatanda, may para sa babae... pag-isahin po natin 'yan para mapatibay ang kalagayan ng pamilyang Filipino," he said.
A teacher, barber and radio broadcaster from the Bicol region, Jesus Caceres said he will push for more benefits for teachers.
"Gawing five years ang pag-renew ng lisensiya ng mga teacher at dagdagan ang insentibo at allowances," he said.
Another candidate from the Labor Party Philippines, Melchor Chavez said he will push for land reform.
"Land for the landless," he said.
Independent candidate Charlie Gaddi believes federalism will bring in the change the country needs.
"Ito ang bagong sistema na magbibigay sa atin ng tunay na pagbabago," he said.
Aside from federalism, independent candidate Emily Mallillin said she will also push for a law that will encourage Filipinos to use locally-made products.
Sana ang mga Filipino, matuto po sanang tangkilikin ang sarili nilang produkto. Lalong lalo na po sa ating mga magsasaka," she said.
Lawyer Jose Matula said he will push for regularization for workers.
"Isusulong ko po ang regular na trabaho, wakasan ang endo. Regular na trabaho, mula sa pagpapabilis ng ating agrarian reform program, para sa modernisasyon ng ating agrikultura para sa ating national industrialization," he said.
Luther Meniano, another candidate from the Labor Party Philippines, said he will have three priority bills - law of tranquility, law of territory and law of transparency.
The law of tranquility will be for peace and order, while law of territory will focus on the country's national territory.
A law for transparency, on the other hand, will keep corruption in check.
"Dapat po tayo ay transparent sa sambayanang Filipino, kung saan ginagastos ang pera ng sambayanang Filipino dahil po po nalubog po tayo sa utang," he said.
A lawyer from South Cotabato, Allan Montaño said he will push for the establishment of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) fund as a solution to poverty.
"We will establish an OFW investment fund na panggagalingan ng pondo para magsilbing kapital upang makapag-generate tayo ng enough jobs," he said.