By Ben Rosario
From defending human rights to ensuring a Filipino’s defense against sickness, nine senatorial candidates offered varying ways of showing love of country during the ABS-CBN Harapan Town Hall debates on Sunday.
Backed by Manila Bulletin as the leading network’s media partner for the 2019 mid-year polls, the ABS-CBN staged the first of a three-part series of debates expected to be participated in by majority of the senatorial bets.
Only re-electiionist Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel failed to show up at the television networks studio in Quezon City.
Samira Gutoc, a former ARMM legislator, said her legislative plan of action will revolve around the welfare and protection of rights of women and the youth.
Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, Otso Diretso colleague of Gutoc, said respect for human dignity, especially the poor, is the best way of showing love of country.
“Ang hamon sa lahat ng mamamayang Pilipino ay isang Senado, malaya a t matapang. Hindi po natin kailangang pamahayan ang Senado ng mga epal na ginagamit ang pera ng gobyerno sa pangangampanya, ng mga mandarambong at ng mga magnanakaw na magiging sunod-sunuran, ibebenta ang ating bayan ang ating teritoryo,” he stated. (The challenge to Filipnos is a Senate that is free and fearless. We do not need Senate to be occupied by politicians who use government money for the campaign, of plunderers and thieves who will become subservient and will only bargain the country and our territory).
Former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong recalled a father who sent him his son’s “half-full”piggybank as contribution to his campaign. He said the father gave him his son’s savings on the condition that he will protect the future of his son.
For former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino people who truly show their love for the country are the ordinary folk, -the bakers, teachers, traffic policemen and even the cameramen –who work hard for their family and for the country.
Cardiologist Dr. Willie Ong, an independent bet, said that by working towards improvement of public health and making it accessible to the poor is one way of showing love for the country.
For his part, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, an Otso-Diretso senatorial bet, pointed to a corrupt justice system as one that should not be overlooked.
“Bakit ho kapag milyon-milyon o bilyon bilyon ang ninanakaw nakakalusot? Pero Iyong mahihirap ay agad-agad ipinakukulong,” he said. (Why is it that one who has stolen millions and billions is set free. But the poor are quickly put to jail).
Responding to the question, broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad said being honest is one way of showing love for the country.
“At bukod po doon ay magsusulong ng mga programa na talagang maka-Pilipino- pagpapalakas ng agrikultura ay maka-Pilippino, paggamit ng teknolohiya na nasa ating lamang para maibsan ang gutom ng mga maraming Pilipino,” he said. (Aside from this pursuing programs that are pro-Filipino – strnegthening agriculture is pro-Filipino, using technolgoy that is ours in order to ease hunger suffered by many Fipinos)