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Leonardia’s participation in virtual mayoralty debate unconfirmed

Will Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia agree to join the virtual debate for mayoralty candidates organized by the U.P. Law Alumni Association-Negros Occidental at the University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City today?

The mayor had earlier pushed for a live face-to-face town hall format or a one-on-one discussion of issues with his rival, which the organizers said they may not be able to grant since a Zoom Room will be assigned for them.

George Zulueta, debate coordinator of the camp of Leonardia, yesterday said he does not believe the mayor will agree to a virtual debate and also because it’s already too late to come to an agreement.

In their letter to Zulueta, the organizers said they agree that a face-to-face debate may appear to be more exciting.

This first ever virtual townhall debate is being organized to elevate discussions around issues and to provide a platform for candidates to make known their positions on various issues, among others, they said.

The invitations for this virtual event were sent to all candidates for mayor of Bacolod City and governor of Negros Occidental, based on the mechanics they designed and mindful of health and safety issues, the organizers said.

“We reiterate to you that with the current surge of COVID cases the past days reaching a record high of positivity rate of 44 percent and of daily cases of 33,000, the highest since the pandemic started two years ago, these considerations remain paramount. We will thus maintain a virtual debate via zoom and live streamed on FB on Saturday, as originally indicated in our letter invitation dated 30 October 2021,” they said.

“We also wish to convey to you that we take exception to sly and baseless imputations of unfairness and bias against the organizing institutions. With respect to the profiles, we were constrained to rely on the online research of knowledge partners, in the absence of information from candidates, following our request for a cv/profile. We hope you appreciate the efforts we are making here in organizing this event and accord us the respect due us,” they added.

They believe that their virtual debate today will be one of the many debates and face-offs that the local candidates will have. Should circumstances positively change, we would be happy to support a face-to-face debate that may be organized in the future, ” the organizers said.*

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