MANILA, Philippines – More Filipinos nationwide watched the five presidential candidates face off for the last time in ABS-CBN’s Presidential Town Hall Debate last Sunday (April 24), which recorded a whopping national TV rating of 40.6% – the highest among the presidential debates in Commission on Elections’ “Pili Pinas 2016” presidential debate series – according to Kantar Media.
ABS-CBN’s debate, held at the Phinma University of Pangasinan and moderated by Karen Davila and Tony Velasquez, outshined competing programs “24 Oras Weekend” (11.5%), “Vampire Ang Daddy Ko” (13.5%), “Ismol Family” (16.4%), and the “2018 Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup” (3.9%).
It also beat the first presidential debate hosted by GMA last February 21, which garnered 23.8%, by almost 17 points, as well as the second one hosted by TV5 last March 20, which only garnered 8.5%.
With a town hall format, ABS-CBN’s debate allowed Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, and former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to respond to questions about their platforms and stand on the most urgent issues facing the nation.
The debate also spurred discussions online, with the official hashtag #PilipinasDebates2016 trending nationwide and worldwide on Twitter. Praises also poured in for ABS-CBN on the micro-blogging site as netizens posted positive comments about its format.
Political analyst @NicoleCurato said on Twitter, “Congrats @ABSCBNNews for hosting a fantastic #PiliPinasDebates2016. The vignettes were very good counterpoint to platitudes & promises.”
Twitter user @CrisostomoJake said, “The questions asked were highly intellectual. Congrats ABS for a great discussion of issues.” User @DJBDavy, meanwhile, commented, “I have never been this active on Twitter. The last Presidential Debate is worth watching!”
@JewelsHRH and @maltiq also agreed by saying “The best debate so far. Congrats to ABSCBN. Great choice of Karen Davila and Tony Velasquez for moderators” and “Congrats to @ABSCBN! Your debate format tops! The Qs were spot on! Way to go for real issues!”
The Presidential Town Hall Debate, organized by the COMELEC, KBP, ABS-CBN, and Manila Bulletin, was aired over multiple media platforms – ABS-CBN on free TV, ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel ch. 27 on cable TV, DZMM TeleRadyo on digital television (ABS-CBN TVplus) and SKYcable ch. 26, DZMM 630 on AM radio, and online via livestreaming at news.abs-cbn.com, iwantv.com.ph, and mb.com.ph. Filipinos also got to watch it on their mobile devices via ABS-CBNmobile.