• 5 Reasons Why Watching a Presidential Debate Is Like Parenting

    Making promises, dodging questions, not listening--those sound familiar.

  • Photo from scholastic.com

    Last April 24, we saw the last leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016, and while campaign season is far from over, the debate series was a television event that gave us a lot of drama, comedy, and entertainment, even after the lights went out on stage.

    Maybe because it was the last one, the presidential candidates when all out on promises (read our favorites here) during this debate. The word "free" was thrown a lot, from taxes to hospitalization. We would also see the end of contractual employment. There would be a better economy for OFWs to want to come home.  

    We are...holding our breath. As we watched, we came to the same realization as this article from mom Julie Scagell from the United States (where it is also an election year): watching presidential debates is a lot like parenting. 

    Let us show you the ways.  

    1 Making promises 
    How often have we found ourselves promising a trip to their favorite fast food (which we said was off-limits) just so he'll behave for, say, a family portrait session. Or appease an upset child with a “If you do, I promise we’ll get ice cream later.”

    It's an easy fix that makes us wonder about what these candidates said:  

    Vice President Jejomar Binay: “Sa akin, lahat ng barangay magkakaroon ng barangay health center. Lahat ng barangay health center kumpleto sa gamit at lahat ng barangay health center magkakaroon ng isang barangay health worker.”

    Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas: “Makakaasa ka sa loob ng tatlong buwan matapos ang pagupo ko bilang pangulo matatapos ang endo (end of contract).”

    Senator Grace Poe: “Pag ako naging Pangulo, sisiguraduhin ko na ang mga mahihirap zero billing sa mga ospital.”

    2 Dodging questions
    We, parents, are skilled side-steppers. Remember when your child asked “Is Santa Claus real?” A master in action, right? Candidates, however, give us a run for our money when it comes to dodging questions. When Roxas asked Binay to explain his corruption charges, he simply shrugged the question off, replying, "Alam mo, di ko sasayangin ang oras ko, eh meron pa akong 41 seconds. Magsasalita na lamang ako sa yung anong dahilan at tayo'y pinagharap-harap dito. Yung plataporma at yung pinaninindigan natin."

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    3 Not listening 
    Why presidential candidates are just like our kids--they don't seem to listen. Binay in one of his exchanges with host Karen Davila:

    Davila: Fast Talk Sir. Ang unang tanong...Ipapakulong mo ba si Mayor Duterte sakaling maging pangulo ka? Yes or no?

    Binay: Ako po ay - gusto kong makilala... 

    Davila: Yes or no first. 

    Binay: Huh? Ako mismo, wala ho akong pakialam dyan. 

    Davila: Yes or no? 

    Binay: Huh? 

    Davila: Okay. 

    Binay: Hindi, hindi naman ako magpapakulong eh.

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    4 Doing pretend play 
    Our kids enjoy dressing up and pretending to be superheroes. We've discovered our candidates are eerily similar.

    A case in point: “Matagal ko nang ambisyon iyan na maging hero ako,” Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said while pronouncing that he was ready to risk his life to end the West Philippine Sea dispute. 

    Roxas might be fancying himself as Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, with this quote: "As Batman said, 'It is not important how you came into this world, what is important is what you did with your life.'"

    5 Being embarrassed for them
    Our kids can say the most cringeworthy (or totally inappropriate) things, but they're not running for president. We literally got goosebumps when:

    • Roxas said the the word "Batman" (we actually said "don't!" to our TV set, but by most accounts, Roxas did pretty well in this debate)
    • Duterte said these words, "All that I can say is, I have many plans. I can even copy the plans of my good friends here, Grace and Ma'am Miriam. For after all, it is a product of intellect which I can use. Sanay naman akong mangopya. Grade 1, nagkokopya na po ako."
    • Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago uttered the word "bobombahin" during a question about the West Philippine Sea issue.  
    • Poe said hugot lines like: "Walang masama sa bago. Ang gusto nga natin, bagong ligo, bagong saing, bagong boyfriend."
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