6 top presidential bets to attend Cebu forum Jan. 22

1/20/10 - ALL of the six leading presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance to a forum tomorrow organized by the Cebu business community aimed at discussing issues unique to the region and its population.
According to Samuel Chioson, president of the co-organizer Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said the six presidential candidates during the May elections have confirmed their attendance to the “Choices and Voices for 2010” forum at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
The candidates expected to be present at tomorrow’s forum are Sen. Benigno Aquino III, former President Joseph Estrada, Sen. Richard Gordon, former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Sen. Manny Villar .
“A seventh candidate, Nicanor Perlas, also asked if he could join. We are still discussing his participation,” Chioson said.
The organizers, including CCCI, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Cebu Business Club signed the agreement with the event’s top sponsors Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) and Visayan Electric Co. yesterday.
AEV director Roberto Aboitiz said the company could not miss the opportunity to support an event that will help Cebu and Cebuanos.
“This is a great project and we want to be part of it,” Aboitiz said. “We all know an election is important and this project will allow the citizens to get to know their candidates better.”
MCCI president Eric Mendoza lauded the cooperation between the business organizations and Cebu’s biggest conglomerate.
“It shows that we are united and we do things as one,” Ng said. “It shows the Cebu community is united.”
Preparations are in full swing for the event, from the security preparations to crowd control to the holding rooms of all candidates. Only 2,000 seats will be opened at the CICC, divided equally among the organizers and their invited groups. Each presidential candidate will be given 30 tickets for their entourage and supporters.
Doors at the plenary hall open at 1 p.m. and will be closed by 3:30 p.m. The forum starts at 4 p.m.
The designated host of the event is Bunny Pages of the Pages group of companies, which owns the large Thirsty Fruit Drinks chain, among other businesses. He said the questions will be direct and simple and he expects the candidates to answer “down-to-earth,” as well.
“We will ask specific questions about Cebu and the region ,” he said. “We hope we will not hear motherhood statements because that is not what we want to hear.”
Only five pre-arranged questions were given to candidates. All the other questions will be taken up during a 30-minute interaction. Pages will lead with the audience just before the forum proper. Not all candidates will answer each question. Specific questions may be directed to each candidate depending on the moderator.
(Business Mirror)

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