abs-cbnNEWS.com | 01/30/2009 11:40 PM

In a stunning upset, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, neophyte Square Off participants, knocked out University of the Philippines – Diliman in this week’s Square Off: Frankahan – The Drilon Debates. Arguing against the motion that government agencies should be mandated to employ displaced OFW’s, the all-girl team of Iligan was unanimously voted to make it into the quarterfinals.

 frankahan - IIT vs. UP

L-R: UP Diliman Team, Ms. Twink Macaraeg (Host), MSU-IIT Team (Rei Lena Maranda [CASS], Mara Barbra Nanaman [CASS], and Ara Reyna Mamon [COE])

UP framed their argument by defining displaced OFWs as those pulled out of dangerous areas like Iraq and Gaza. They argued it is government’s responsibility to give compensation and assistance to these workers.

The Iskolars ng Bayan asserted that as remittances from overseas workers keep the economy afloat, it’s just right that the government give back by extending help to them through referrals in local and international employment market.

But MSU-Iligan pointed out that UP did not properly engage the motion and that what UP proposed was no different from what exists in the status quo. It was Best Speaker Mara Nanaman, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who identified the main issue as one of Government prioritizing displaced OFWs.
Taking off from that point, MSU-Iligan built the case that laid-off workers who chose to stay in the Philippines did not deserve any less assistance from the state. And for that matter, those who lost their jobs because of conflict in Mindanao were no different from the OFWs pulled out of war-torn foreign countries. MSU asserted that nation-building isn’t gauged by monetary contributions, therefore all should be treated equally. “Let them all fall in line!” called Nanaman.

Government Whip Claire Jiao tried to salvage UP’s case by arguing that the local workers the opposition was seeking to protect were the very beneficiaries of OFW money. Thus, OFWs did deserve special treatment. But this line of reasoning came too late and wasn’t fully fleshed out.

“Given the discussion of how human resources are equally important, we don’t see why OFWs have to be prioritized based on tonight’s debate, so we give the win unanimously to the opposition,” Chief Adjudicator Sharmila Parmanand explained.

ANC IIT team

The MSU-IIT Debate Varsity: (L-R) Prof. Darwin Manubag [Coach], Ara Reyna Mamon [COE], Mara Barbra Nanaman [CASS], Prof. Michael Nunez [Coach], Prof. Phyllis Marie Teanco [Coach], and Rei Lena Maranda [CASS]

The announcement was greeted by tears and cheers from the MSU side – debaters and supporters (in both ANC’s Quezon City and Cagayan de Oro studios) alike. “MSU Alumni the world over are celebrating this victory!” said the girls’ very emotional coach. “Thank you to Square Off: Frankahan for giving us this chance to shine!”

 alumni supports ANC IIT

MSU-IIT Debate Varsity with MSU Alumni and Friends

You can catch Square Off: Frankahan – The Drilon Debates every Wednesdays, 8-9pm, with replays every Thursday 1pm, Saturday 1pm and Sunday 2am.

Topics : contest  debate  frankahan  cass  coe  midv