Sep 14, 2009

25 Questions for the 2010 Presidential Aspirants

Wow. I can't believe that it has been about 9 months since I've posted something here. Anywho, time to revive this shenanigan for the benefit of the thinking masses.

Last September 09, 2009 (09.09.09, if you haven't noticed) the U.P. Diliman College of Social Work and Community Development, the University of the Philippines Student Government, and the College of Law held a forum titled "Y Vote? U Vote!: What It Takes To Make A Difference In The 2010 Elections". The speakers during the said forum were Professor Randy David, Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines Secretary General Bianca Lapuz, and the Dean of the College of Law Atty. Marivic Leonen. The first three speakers (David, Padaca, and Lapuz) discussed the role of the youth as advocates, campaigners, and guardians in the electoral process. But that's not what I want to share today - I'll make another post on that soon. What I want to share today is part of Atty. Leonen's talk.

You see, I'm one of the few people I know of who would vote anyone - irregardless of race, size, creed or gender - who could present to me a SMART platform. You know, Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. The problem for me has always been one of finding a respectably accurate and comprehensive list of plans and programs to look for in a candidate. Atty. Leonen proposed a relatively common - but otherwise daring - solution: come up with a list of key policy questions that can be answered with "Yes", "No", or "I don't know", and have the aspirants answer those.

I've listed below the questions that Atty. Leonen posed. Can you think of other issues that need to be answered?
1. Will you require that all public health centers actively provide information on the various aspects of reproductive health including the use of contraceptives?
2. Will you simplify the tax on tobacco and cause its increase in order to make its price prohibitive and increase revenues?
3. Will you and your team refrain from asking support from religious sects who you know vote as a block and therefore deny the right of wach and every member of their congregation to make their own choices?
4. Will you allow that our national symbols - i.e. the flag and our national language - be revised so that greater representation can be made of the historical and current narratives of various peoples in Mindanao?
5. Will you cause the abrogation of the current Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States?
6. Will you support the current impeachment complaint filed against the present Ombudsperson?
7. Will you recognize the DPWH and prosecute all its employees (past and present) that have facilitated the SOPs for various public officers?
8. Will you cause the abrogation of the DENR so that there is a separate agency that manages natural resources and another one that ensures environmental compliance?
9. Will you provide clear guidelines and transparent procedures for the release of budget appropriated by government i.e. are you willing to regulate the power of impoundment by the President?
10. Will you require that Hacienda Luisita, and other agricultural companies similarly situated, be covered by compulsary acquisition under the Agrarian Reform Program?
11. Will you continue negotiations for a preferential trade agreement with the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand?
12. Will you continue negotiations for a preferential trade agreement with China?
13. Will you call for the suspension of Burma from the ASEAN until they release Aung San Suu Kyi and all their political prisoners?
14. Will your Department of Agriculture encourage sustainable agriculture to meet a clear direction towards reducing our ecological footprint and food security rather than cater to commercial agribusiness firms?
15. Will you work to allow foreign companies to compete in the transportation sector, maintenance of port facilities, and telecommunications?
16. Will you reform the energy sector so as to reduce the monopolies in the generation and distribution of energy?
17. Will you work for the parallel importation of essential drugs?
18. Will you impose a carbon tax?
19. Will you work to change the charter of the PAGCOR so that it will either be a regulator or a gambling corporation?
Alternative question: are you in favor of legalizing jueteng?
20. Will you increase our negotiating capability in the ASEAN, the WTO, and in other multilateral trade organizations by transferring the role of lead negotiator to a trade representative rather than to disparate government agencies?
21. Will you defend the current concept of special safeguard mechanisms and special products for agriculture in the DOHA round?
22. Will you reappoint any member of the Judicial and Bar Council for a second term?
23. Will your choice for the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be based on seniority?
24. Will you appoint any retired military official to any civilian public office?
25. BONUS QUESTION Will you interfere in the selection of a President of the University of the Philippines or any other Dean of any college in the University of the Philippines?

Now I know that some of the issues may sound unfamiliar to you at this time. Don't fret, because I'll be tackling the background of each of these issues during the next two months. So stay tuned!