DLSU Debate Society bags awards in national championships

The La Salle Debate Society (LSDS) was lauded with both individual and team awards during the 16th National Debate Championships (NDC) held at the University of San Carlos (USC), Cebu City from October 24 to 29. LSDS President Mikee de Vega and Vice President for Varsity Affairs Dan Mejes were ranked the third and fifth best speakers of the tournament, respectively, while one out of the eight La Salle teams, DLSU-B, was able to compete in the grand finals. De Vega recounts that this is the second time LSDS had reached the grand finals of the NDC in three years.

The other top competitors in the NDC are the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), University of the Philippines – Diliman (UP), University of Santo Tomas, San Beda College, Philippine Military Academy, among others.

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Among eight teams representing DLSU, two teams were able to surpass the penultimate round of the tournament, which is also considered a knockout round where losing teams do not get to advance to the later stages. DLSU-B competed against three teams, ADMU-A, ADMU-E, and UP-A. The finalists faced off against each other for the motion of imposing a death penalty to government officials found guilty of severe corruption. ADMU-A bested the three other teams and was declared this year’s champion.

NDC participants were also tested for their adjudication skills. The top adjudicators were chosen by their peers and were rated by how well they were able to articulate their decisions to the teams they were judging. Trisha Saile of LSDS was awarded seventh best adjudicator of the tournament.

“Debate is such an unpredictable sport and it’s difficult to maintain a spot as one of the top debate institutions of the country, but the brand of debate that Lasallians bring is very distinct,” de Vega explains. She expounds that a debater’s good performance is not measured by the number of rounds he or she has successfully won, but it’s by how well a debater uses different techniques to think of the best arguments and rebuttals.

La Salle’s debate society has to prepare for more competitions after the NDC. LSDS will participate in the World Universities Debate Championships in Malaysia in January 2015, the Philippine Intercollegiate Debate Championship, and the United Asians Debate Championships in Bali, Indonesia which is Asia’s official regional tournament.

“There is too much work to be done and, just like any sports team, the trimestral system somehow makes it difficult to train. The fast-paced academic system of La Salle is something that we have to balance alongside the training regimen we have,” the LSDS president points out, even mentioning the financial burden of competing overseas.

Despite the financial, academic, and logistical constraints, de Vega concludes that LSDS will do what it takes just to make their alma mater proud

The NDC is the British Parliamentary debate competition of the Philippine Debate Union, hosted this year by USC. Every year, the host of the NDC is determined through a bid and is voted upon by the members of the union, who also served as participants.

By Ian Benedict Mia

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