On September 24 and 25, 2016, seven schools competed for the championship in this year’s Interscholastic Medical Debate Competition (IMDC) held at Manila Central University, Caloocan City. The competition consisted of five rounds of eliminations, where two teams each from Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Heath (ASMPH), St. Luke’s College of Medicine-William H. Quasha Memorial (SLCM), University of the East – Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERM), Our Lady of Fatima University, St. Louis University (SLU), and University of Perpetual Health System – JONELTA Foundation School of Medicine, and one team from Bicol Christian College of Medicine competed against each other to vie for the semifinals round.

Two teams from ASMPH, a team from UERM, and a team from SLU progressed to the semifinals round. After a round of debate in the semifinals, a team from ASMPH competed with UERM for the final round, where ASMPH was declared this year’s IMDC champion.

This year’s SLCM teams consisted of Joselv Albano, John Lorenzo Hanrahan, and Ruth Dolores Patricio for Team 1, and Gea Shanine Sedayao, Analiza Kiat and Oliver Perez for Team 2. The two teams won five rounds out of the total ten rounds of the debate competition. Despite training for only a week before the competition, the two teams argued eloquently for their sides and rebutted their opponent’s statements with grace. This competition was, after all, a battle of wits and guts. At the end of the day, the SLCM teams went back to their institution with new knowledge and a deep experience about Philippine health care.

What was notable about this year’s IMDC was that it had been absorbed by the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges (APMC) for its 6th year. IMDC was a project of the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine Student Council and UP Manila Debate Circle. IMDC had been held in UPM for the last consecutive five years. APMC included IMDC in its main projects this year because it was, for them, an important aspect in upholding the welfare of medical students in the Philippines. “It is through these opportunities of healthy discourse about the happenings in Philippine health care that we become aware and open-minded doctors in the future. We believe that it is necessary for us medical students to be socially aware,” said Gabriel Ignacio P. Alejo, the Executive Vice President of APMC.

The motions of every debate in IMDC tackled on the most pressing issues in Philippine health care, from banning people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to paying a sum amount to medical interns, and from organ donation to the fat acceptance movement among others.

The competition ended with Michael Agoncillo being awarded Best Speaker of the 6th IMDC, and Gianica Monteagudo, Best Speaker of the final round. Both participants were from ASMPH.

The champions of the 5th IMDC, who were also from SLCM, were given their awards during this ceremony. We congratulate Brylle Catague, Nicole Marie Manalastas, and Cheryl Argent for bagging the previous championship as well as our current SLCM Debating Teams for doing a job well done! You surely made your school proud.