THE OFFICE for Student Affairs (OSA) has allowed delegate teams from the Thomasian Debaters’ Council to participate in the 10th All-Asians Intervarsity Debate Championships set on October 15 to 23 in Johor, Malaysia despite the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) threat.

Evelyn Songco, assistant to the Rector for student affairs, had earlier cancelled TDC’s participation in the tournament, which was initially scheduled on May 15 to 23, because of the reported SARS cases in Malaysia.

Teams from China and Hong Kong backed out from the tournament as early as the last week of April to avoid the risk of contracting the disease.

Tournament host University of Technology of Malaysia was advised by Malaysia’s health ministry as well as its own administration to postpone the competition until the threat of the killer pneumonia subsided.

Four UST teams will join the tournament, which will also have delegates from Singapore, Japan, Pakistan, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, and Malaysia.

“Since TDC first joined the All-Asians Intervarsity Debate Championship, we have never failed to qualify past the eliminations. We have never been out of the circle,” TDC President Christopher Daguimol said.

UST is one of only three Asian universities to bring home at least two All-Asians championship titles, winning in 1997 and in 1999. The other two are Ateneo de Manila University and the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

“Just like every year, our chance of winning the Asians is strong. The TDC’s tryout system is supervised by its advisory council, which is composed of National, Asians, and World Champions,” Daguimol said. “The council ensures that the best debaters are handpicked from the pool of varsity debaters who can best represent the University.” Mary Abigail S. Austriaco

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