THE Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) has scheduled a series of candidates' fora in Negros Oriental from March 29 to April 29 for this year’s synchronized May 9 elections.

The forum will kick off with gubernatorial and vice-gubernatorial candidates with the same political party on March 29 in the province.

DEB Convenor Rev. Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela said the forum aims to provide a non-partisan and free venue for candidates to present their qualifications, platforms or programs of government.

It will also give local candidates and residents a chance to discuss the various issues affecting their communities.

All fora will be held at Marian Priest Center, Dumaguete Cathedral and covered live over DYWC’s TeleRadyo (Channel 51 Fil-Products Cable TV) and livestreaming on the Facebook pages of The Dumaguete Cathedral, all catholic parishes, and PIA Negros Oriental at 6 p.m.

Heruela said the candidates are expected to deliver a five-minute speech to introduce themselves and their platforms of government, followed by an open forum through a multi-sectoral panel of reactors.

After the candidates have given their introductory speeches, an open forum will follow during which the panel of reactors will ask questions.

The audience online or teleradyo may also ask their questions for the candidates.

The audience may send their questions via text message through the cellphone numbers that will be shown onscreen and announced by the hosts.

Personal or irrelevant questions will not be allowed, as questions must relate only to the qualifications, plans, platform or program of government of the candidate concerned.

This activity also aims to raise the level of consciousness of voters toward a clean, honest, accountable, meaningful and peaceful elections (Champ).

DEB urged candidates to keep the issues at a high level and focus on the interest of the people in a platform-led campaign and employ the media as a means of enlightenment.

The Commission on Elections also urged political leaders from all sides at all levels to adhere to the democratic process and follow the road of sobriety and prudence to achieve honest, orderly, peaceful elections. (PIA)