All five presidential candidates on Sunday night will gather at Capitol University of Cagayan de Oro for the first round under the auspices of the Commission on Elections to give the millions of people watching television and a few hundreds more in the audience a view of the contenders.
The Mindanao round of the debate is first of the three the poll body has initiated. Two more will be covered by media, one in the Visayas and another in Metro Manila.
The debate will also be an opportunity for presidential candidacies of Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar”Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to each deliver their 60 seconds opening statements and answer questions.
Two moderators will facilitate the program as questions will be directed to candidates. The debate will have three rounds, with each round focusing on a specific issue on poverty reduction, charter change, peace and order and agriculture development. For every round, each candidate will get to answer one question, with another candidate being designated to react.
The candidate will be given 90 seconds to answer the question from the moderator. The other candidate will have 60 seconds for a rebuttal. The first candidate will have the last say in a 30-second counter-rebuttal.
After the three rounds, the candidates will be given another minute each for their closing statement.
The two-hour debate will be covered live only by GMA-7 starting at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon and live-streamed by PDI and GMAnews. Some accredited radio stations will join the television network in covering the event.
Sad to note here that other media networks are prohibited from even taking photographs and videos of the debate but only allowed to make use of up to two minutes excerpt as the whole proceedings are copyrighted by the host network and broadsheet partner.
TV5 and Philippine Star will host the debates in Visayas on March 20. ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin will cover the Luzon debates on April 24.
Online news publisher Rappler together with CNN Philippines and Business Mirror will cover the vice presidential debate on April 10.
News sources: Philstar