MANILA, Philippines – Masters Vincent Raphael G. Soriano, Javier Ma. B. Pablo, and Jose Antonio T. Sison were named the grand champions of the 2nd Asian Schools Debate Championships (ASDC) held in De La Salle University last Sept. 5 to 9. The three Ateneans bested over 200 debaters during the tournament, which was attended by the best high school delegates and adjudicators from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, China, Singapore and India.
The tournament is held in the Asian Parliamentary Format, wherein one affirmative team and one negative team debate against each other on a given topic or motion. The topics were diverse, ranging from feminism to international relations. In the grand finals, Soriano, Pablo and Sison went up against the flagship team of South Korea’s Daewon Foreign Languages School, which included Master Jeewon Yoo, recognized as the best speaker in Asia.
The Ateneans debated on the affirmative side of the motion, “This house believes that governments should not own any media companies.” After an extremely close debate, the Ateneo High School Debaters were named the best team in Asia by a panel comprised of 11 adjudicators, who awarded the win to Ateneo after a 6-5 split decision.
In the finals, Sison’s speech focused heavily on the public’s right to information, and how governments can control the media to hide certain realities. Pablo extended the argumentation by discussing the creation of discourse and plurality of opinion among people, and the benefits of making the media into a lucrative market. Soriano summarized the debate for the affirmative side by discussing the issue of the accuracy of the free press, and the second issue of creating incentives for the free press. Sison was also named the best speaker of the finals.
Vincent says, “Compared to last year, we felt more confident. We knew we could do well. Even the finals seemed like a regular round to us, but we knew it’s what we worked for, and we knew that we could pull off the win.” Javier recalls that when he was in the finals, it felt surreal; he didn’t even know why he was in the finals. “I felt like I really had to do my best, representing Ateneo, and moreover, the Philippines. When I was on the stage myself, I could feel the pressure of living up to the expectations.” –Basilio E. Claudio The Philippine Star