At least hybrid, hindi lang virtual. Our experiences in our Senate hearings and even sessions tell us that there are many limitations, not to mention technical problems, pag purely virtual or online ang debate.
For one, iba pa rin ang physically engaged ang mga kandidato, lalo na sa isang debate na inaabangan ng mga Pilipino para makilatis nila nang husto kung sino ba ang iboboto nila upang mamuno sa bansa – kasama na ang demeanor o kilos ng bawat presidential candidate.
Notwithstanding, ensuring safety measures must be our primary concern on political debates and similar gatherings under the New Normal.
First, a public debate is always healthy in a democratic environment – as long as it is limited to the issue at hand, and does not go down to the gutter level.
On one hand, a question comes to mind: What do we gain from the debate, assuming that it pushes through? One other dire outcome is further divisiveness that only China will benefit from.
I could almost imagine the anticipated excitement on the part of the Chinese while watching all these developments as they continue to be busy surveying more shoals within our exclusive economic zone that they can build more garrisons to pursue their expansionist agenda in the West Philippines Sea.
That said, the hype surrounding the debate should not distract us into allowing the Chinese to sneak into our territory while we argue among ourselves. That would be the last thing we need for our sovereignty and territorial integrity.