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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, February 22, 2016
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Presidentiables face off
Negros supporters defend their bets

If online surveys of the first leg of the presidential debates held at the Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City are to be believed, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte were the top winners and vice president Jejomar Binay was in last place.

But for the presidential candidates' supporters in Negros Occidental, each of their bets performed the best, depending on which camp they belong to.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., a staunch supporter of Roxas, said it was clear that all three rounds of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 went to his bet.

“Against other aspirants, Mar was the only presidential bet who veered away from motherhood statements. He presented concrete plans of action based on what has already been done or started by the administration,” he said.

Roxas proposed a clear road map to lick poverty and cited NEDA statistics showing substantial development and infra funds infused into Mindanao in the last 5 years that his rivals are still proposing, the governor said.

The Liberal Party standard bearer and the Daang Matuwid administration are on the right direction in terms of sustaining the 6.3 percent economic growth that the country had posted the last couple of years, he said.

In the coming years under the Roxas presidency, this growth will translate to more jobs, social services, higher budget for education and skills training, and more stable prices of basic commodities, he added.

Negrense businessman Ed Alunan, a supporter of Duterte, said among all five candidates, it is Duterte who is not tainted with corruption and has a proven track record.

“Binay seems to have skirted the corruption issue. Miriam was not her fiery self and was struggling for words. Poe was good. Personally, she's my number two after Duterte. Mar was on the defensive because problems plaguing the country contradicted the claims of Daang Matuwid,” Alunan said.

“Roxas should create his own slogan to be more original. Binay is leading in all surveys and perceived as corrupt. Poe's running violates the Constitution. The surveys place Duterte as No. 2. I propose that Mar does another Mar, which is to endorse his followers in favor of Duterte for the sake of preventing Binay, who is conceived to be the face of corruption, from winning. Miriam should likewise do the same,” Alunan said.

Modesto Sa-anoy, a leader of the Poe campaign in Negros, said Binay and Santiago all gave motherhood statements and had nothing new to say.

Duterte gave concrete solutions to putting an end to crime that cannot be achieved in three months even if he declares martial law. Ferdinand Marcos was not able to do what Duterte is promising, when he declared martial law, Sa-onoy pointed out.

Sa-onoy said he may be partisan for Poe but she was the only one who had very specific and doable programs to ensure self sufficiency in Mindanao and in the fight against corruption.

Duterte made specific but impossible promises, Sa-onoy said.

Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano, a staunch supporter of Binay, said the vice president was very clear in outlining his programs should he become president.

There was not enough time for him to explain all that he has done but the vice president stayed within the topic, he added.

A Philippine Daily Inquirer online survey of the debate showed Roxas at 44.86 percent (48,272 votes), Duterte 43.07 percent (46,345 votes), Santiago 5.58 percent (6,004 votes), Poe 4.74 percent (5,101 votes) , and Binay at 1.74 percent (1,874 votes).

A Rappler poll showed Duterte at 59.14 percent (1,000 out of the total 1,691 votes), Santiago – 16.09 percent (272 votes), Roxas – 15.55 percent (263 votes), Poe - 7.63 percent (129 votes), and Binay – 1.6 percent (27 votes).

However, the accuracy of the online polls could also depend on who among the candidates had the most supporters assigned to boost their online votes, an observer said.

Yesterday's historic presidential debate was the first ever held in Mindanao, and the first time in 24 years.*CPG



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