COMELEC’s Jimenez on staging debates: There will always be room for improvement

The Debate Visit and Best Practices Symposium at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is yet to formally open on October 18 but already Commission on Elections Spokesperson James Jimenez says that conversations among delegates are providing useful insights on how to design, prepare for, and actually mount debates. Jimenez is representing the Philippines at the symposium, jointly organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), which brings together around 50 delegates to share their unique stories about organizing debates in their home countries.

Delegates from Jamaica, for instance, shared relevant experiences that are not unlike the organizing issues the Comelec handled in putting the PiliPinas Debates 2016 together. Polls in Jamaica don't have fixed dates, and they tell of successfully staging major debates despite having only three weeks lead time.

"If we can learn from the Jamaican experience in terms of how they maintain a constant state of readiness, our debate preparations can benefit from increased efficiency and, ultimately, efficacy," Jimenez said.

Holding debates at the local level, which Jamaica is already doing, is also one of the Commission's goals and is desired by many Filipinos, Jimenez added.

Flaws notwithstanding, what matters most in the execution of debates is recognizing that it is a continuous process of learning and refining. He emphasized: "There will always be room for improvement."

Jimenez is set to give a presentation on the politics and background of election debates in the Philippines, which will be part of the discussion on "Debate Sponsor Models: Perspectives of Election Authorities and Media Regulatory Groups" on the second day of the symposium.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

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