Smart is Comelec debates’ network provider

PANGILINAN group’s Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless arm of PLDT, Inc., is the official network provider of the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) debates, the company said on Wednesday.

“Teaming up with Impact Hub Manila, the organization behind Vote Pilipinas, the official voter information campaign partner of Comelec, Smart is an official partner and official network provider of ‘PiliPinas Debates 2022: The Turning Point,’” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

The Comelec has scheduled two presidential debates for March and April. Vice-presidential candidates took the podium in March.

Smart said the Comelec also plans to hold separate town hall format debates in April.

“The debate series aims to help voters scrutinize the candidates as the country inches closer to the May 9 polls,” it noted.

Jane J. Basas, senior vice-president and head of consumer wireless business at Smart, said the company is in a “unique position to support the Comelec in helping voters choose our country’s next leaders and ignite their passion to live smart and vote smart.”

Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Philippines AirAsia, Inc. said it also signed a partnership deal with Vote Pilipinas “to further promote voter education and responsible voting in the country.”

Under the partnership, the airline will serve as Vote Pilipinas’ communications partner in broadcasting the series of voter education webinars and presidential and vice-presidential debates to more than 12 million followers of its airasia Super App Facebook page.

Ricardo P. Isla, Philippines AirAsia chief executive officer, said the airline will “always be apolitical but we want to take part in proactively encouraging Filipinos to exercise their right to suffrage.”

“It is through this partnership with Vote Pilipinas that we responsibly play our part in nation building, especially shaping the next six years of our country which is crucial to exiting the pandemic,” he added.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin