The third GE Conversation with a National Leader: A Forum on Governance, Transparency, and Social Transformation was conducted last 11 March, Friday, at the DL Umali Hall, University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), with presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the guest speaker.

The event was spearheaded by the Department of Social Sciences (DSS), College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and UP sa Halalan 2016, through the initiative of Political Science 1 Cluster, and in partnership with the UPLB General Education Council and UPLB-based student organizations, namely UP Socius, UP Mindanawans, and UPLB Tubong Dabaw.

In his opening remarks, CAS Dean Felino Lansigan emphasized the importance of encouraging political participation from the public and the need to engage them in the process of governance. After DSS Assistant Professor Zoilo Belano, Jr introduced the guest speaker. Mayor Duterte delivered his message wherein he admitted that he was at first having doubts on running for the presidency in this year’s general elections, but eventually decided to pursue his candidacy.

Violence, Duterte proposed, remains to be a factor that can impede the progress of a society and affect the life of the people, an issue that his local government had focused on throughout the entire course of his mayoralty at Davao City.

“Ginawa ko ang trabaho ko, well, [maybe] not in a very magnificent way, which is not really a work of art, but is governance. But ginawa ko ang trabaho ko. I promised the people I will improve the local order of the place,” he said.

Duterte also stated that if he were to become president, it would be “bloody,” referring to his advocacy of addressing issues of criminality and promoting internal stability in the country.

In the open forum, Mayor Duterte was asked by students regarding his plans for education and his policy platforms, in which he said that education will be prioritized and will receive a larger chunk from the national budget.

The first two GE Conversation fora were held in 15 September of last year and 9 February with presidential candidate and Vice President Jejomar Binay, and independent senatorial candidate and former Akbayan representative Walden Bello as guest speakers, respectively.

The GE Conversations aim to raise the awareness of the public about the current socio-political issues confronting the country at present, highlight the value and significance of good governance, transparency, and accountability in addressing these issues, and enlighten them to become informed and critical in selecting the future leaders of the country. -Jison, John Raymond