Mega Cebu Candidates Forums: Issues, not debates

The 2013 mid-term elections have come and gone. Did your candidates win? Mine mostly didn’t. But then I wasn’t able to exercise my right to suffrage this year (unfortunately!) for valid reasons.  Voting in Dumaguete would have meant me missing our Hatol ng Bayan election coverage in Cebu.

I’m still a registered voter in Dumaguete City, although my name might have been dropped from the voter’s list after this year. Since I wasn’t able to vote, does that mean I don’t have the right to express my grief over unscrupulous officials? I still do, I think, since I’m a taxpayer.

A co-worker suggested I should register as a voter in Cebu now that I’m working here. But I don’t want to since that would be like putting a big, fat period to my assignment here in Cebu. Let me continue to delude myself a bit more that all of this is temporary. Give me Dumaguete or give me death!

Corny emo aside, the series of candidates forums spearheaded by Mega Cebu in April and May was part of my baptism of fire for my first year working in Cebu. It felt like groping in the dark for me because I’m unfamiliar with Cebu’s political personalities and landscape. But the forums provided the best opportunity for me to catch up with who’s who who were gunning for local positions.

As part of the organizing committee, we stayed inside the pit of Cebu Cultural Center while the forum went on above us. Our office was tasked with publicity and live tweeting the events.

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The nice thing about Mega Cebu’s forums was that the organizers were adamant in keeping things focused on issues. Candidates forums like this tend to quickly turn into a debate. Having a clear-cut set of mechanics and guidelines, and a panel of reactors representing various sectors kept the candidates within the line and on their toes. The venue also helped; the plush interiors of Cebu Cultural Center lent an elegant and dignified air, enough to intimidate even the most boorish of candidates.

Questions from the audience were entertained during the open forum, as well as from Twitter and Facebook. I was able to read some of the questions that came in and some were not fit to be asked, while others read like “praise releases.”

It was a great experience for me and I look forward to the next series during the next elections.

 

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I write to live, or live to write. Whichever it is, writing is my life.

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