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Filipino student is Asia’s best debater

Buendia beat more than 200 students to come out on top at UADC. Source: Instagram/@andreibuendia

Beating more than 200 students from the continent, Andrei Buendia emerged as best debater at the United Asian Debating Championship (UADC) held in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

According to Rappler, Buendia, 21, shares the top spot with Sajid Khandaker of Bangladesh. Buendia and his fellow university mate Mika Filoteo, both of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), took first and 10th spot respectively in the finals on Aug 5.

“I feel like this is a great way to end a career that began with so much frustration. The year 2017 was really the year all the hard work paid off,” Buendia said.

The UADC is the largest competition in Asia which uses the Asian Parliamentary format. Two groups – Government and Opposition – comprising of three members each, debate one another, in speeches and rebuttals around seven minutes long per member.

The annual competition has participants from around 12 to 15 countries – this year, around seven teams competed, and National University of Singapore emerged as the overall team champion.

Buendia, who started debating in his third year in high school, joins the ranks of Pearl Simbulan, a University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman student who took the title in 2012.

Buendia said debating has helped hone his communication skills and logical capacity.

“It helps me defend my answers to professors and allows me to communicate my ideas with adequate analytical rigour.”

However, he remarked there needs to be more financial support for debating teams from the Philippines, especially those from the provinces.

“I firmly believe the Philippine debating circuit is one of the most competitive circuits in the world. I have met debaters from Visayas and Mindanao who are so talented, but have never stepped on the national stage simply because of funding,” Buendia said.

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