To help Filipinos make informed choices for the coming elections in May 2016, the UP Open University Office of Gender Concerns (OGC) and the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) held the “Hugot ng Bayan Para sa Halalan: A Forum on the People’s Agenda for the National Elections” on 29 March 2016 at the Audio-Visual Room, UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna and live via webstreaming at the upounetworks.net.
Four panel discussants were invited to present on different aspects – policy and governance, women and poverty, health and nutrition, and the environment. Asst. Prof. Juvy Gervacio, Program Chair of Master of Public Management (MPM), presented “The Future We Want: Challenges and Prospects for the New Administration.” Her presentation included the result of a personal survey she conducted, and the result of a Pulse Asia survey about what people want from the next administration. Asst. Prof. Gervacio identified the areas that the next administration should address, and challenged the audience to be critical in choosing if their candidates have any programs to address the issues identified.
The second speaker was Asst. Prof. Finaflor Taylan, Program Chair of Diploma in Women and Development (DWD). Her presentation was entitled “Usapang Kahirapan at Kababaihan sa Halalan.” Answering the question “Mahirap ba ang buhay?,” she presented the facts and figures of poverty in the Philippines, and the programs that the government implemented to address the issues. She presented the platforms that each presidentiables has planned to address the issues, and their stand on some issues involving gender and development. She also provided her own view on how poverty and gender and development issues should be addressed.
The third speaker was Asst. Prof. Myra Oruga, Program Chair of Diploma and Master of International Health (D/MIH). She showed the facts and figures she collated from the National Nutrition Council about the prevalence of malnutrition in the country and how this cut across all ages. She mentioned that not all presidentiables have programs and plans on health promotion and education when this should also be prioritized.
The last speaker was Assoc. Prof. Consuelo dL. Habito, Program Chair of Diploma and Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (D/MENRM). In her presentation entitled “Halalan para sa Kalikasan,”she also presented a comparative list of environmental programs and priorities of each presidential candidate. These areas include agriculture, water resource conservation, mining and proper land use, preparation for disasters and climate change adaptation, and the promotion of renewable energy and green technology.
Before the forum ended, the audience were given an opportunity to ask questions that were answered by the discussants. Asst. Prof. Taylan, as the Director of OGC, gave the closing remarks, mentioning that a second leg of the forum will be held to tackle other relevant aspects of the country and the elections. She thanked all the speakers for their inputs and the audience for their participation, hoping that the forum will help them vote wisely in May 2016.
This forum served as the culminating event of the UPOU’s celebration of the National Women’s Month as well as celebration of the World Social Work Day. This was done through the coordinative mechanism of the UPOU sa Halalan 2016 under the UP sa Halalan 2016 Project. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)