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UIC conquers international debate championship

by : Mary Jane Barluado

Kuching, Malaysia – An impressive 6/7 winning record in pre-final rounds propelled the UIC high school debate team to surmount the senior category finals during the 11th Swinburne Sarawak Inter-school Debating Championship (SSIDC) hosted by the Australian Swinburne University of Technology – Sarawak Campus, February 21 – 25, 2016.

A newbie in an international debate arena, the brainiac team, composed of Grade 9 student Mary Gabrielle Barluado and Grade 10 students Melvin Gabriel Matus and Jhane Inah Jandayan under coach Mr. Michael Angelo Baiño, wrestled against the veteran defending champion, Kuala Lumpur’s SMK Sri Permata A who also represented Malaysia to the most prestigious high school debate competition, World Schools Debating Championship.

Debating for the more challenging opposition side on the motion “This house believes that the US should suspend supporting Saudi Arabia if it is serious about constructing a winning strategy to defeat ISIS and Al Qaeda” in the finals, the UIC team was adjudged First Runner-up, out of 44 senior teams from different Asian high schools.

Mary Gabrielle Barluado was named the overall tournament’s 3rd Best Debater, out of 132 senior debaters, based on total speaker points in the pre-finals. Barluado also ranked FIRST in Reply Speeches, besting all other teams’ Reply Speakers. Making it as Top18% debaters, Jhane Jandayan and Melvin Matus were ranked 11th and 23rd Best Debaters, respectively.

By SSIDC rule, the debater’s speeches were marked based on content (40%), style (40%), and strategy (20%). Content (matter) is the argument used by the speakers; style (manner) is the way they speak; while strategy (method) is their understanding of the issues, and their speeches’ structure and timing.

Prior to the finals, the team hurdled three days of non-stop mentally exhausting impromptu debates on various themes like education, sports, family, governments, crimes, media, international relations, environment, and health. The following lists the team’s standing, opponent, side, and motion for each round.

Preliminary rounds:

Day 1

Round 1. Won against Abdillah A, opposing the motion “This house believes that students need education, not indoctrination.”

Round 2. Won against St. Joseph Private School E, defending the motion “This house will make gambling in all sports illegal.”

Day 2

Round 3. Lost to SMK Sri Permata B, defending the motion “This house believes that forcing a surrogate mother to part with her child is an outrage.”

Round 4. Won against SM Lodge B, opposing the motion “This house believes that putting the deceased on trial is a perversion of justice.”

Round 5. Won against SMK St. Joseph A, affirming the motion “This house believes that the death of print newspapers is bad news to our intellect. ”

Day 3

Having Top 4 immunity, the team was exempted from pre-quarters and went directly to the quarterfinal round.

Quarterfinal Round. Won against Kolej Yayasan Saad Melaka A, defending the motion “This house believes that the only way for governments to stop global warming is to put a price on pollution.”

Semifinal Round. Won against SM Lodge A, defending the motion “This house will introduce sugar tax.”

For their exemplary performance as SSIDC finalists, Barluado, Jandayan and Matus were also offered the Swinburne Sarawak Engagement Award to enroll in any Swinburne Sarawak foundation course on a scholarship. Notwithstanding home-court advantage for their opponents, the three unanimously agreed they squared off with “real good debate monsters, and were very thankful for the exhilarating experience.”

Following the Asian Parliamentary format, Barluado served as the team’s Prime Minister/ Leader of the Opposition, Matus as the Deputy, and Jandayan as the Whip. Apart from Mr. Baiño, whom the three describe as the “most amazing coach”, Mr. Niño Miedes and Ms. Klarissa Concepcion (UIC High English and Science teachers, respectively) also helped train the team. Importantly, the team would not have been successful without the support of the entire UIC RVM community headed by its president, S. Ma. Marissa Viri, RVM.

See debaters’ score tabs in https://drive.google.com/file//0B5sUxEzXwUAVaVluRFNvd0xWNkE/view

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