SEASONED debaters from the various universities in Baguio City will compete and present their differing views and arguments on regional development and autonomy on Friday, July 9, at the Easter College, Guisad Road, Baguio City.

The intercollegiate debate is one of the activities lined up for the Cordillera Month in commemoration of the Cordillera Administrative Region's 23rd year of existence this July.

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Peter Dumaguing, chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer of the Department of Agrarian Reform, who heads the sub-committee on debate for the Cordillera Month activities, said this is one of the avenues in instilling awareness on regional development and autonomy.

Competing are seasoned debaters from the University of the Cordilleras, University of Baguio, Saint Louis University and the University of the Philippines-Baguio. These are members of the Philippine Debate Society according to Dumaguing.

As inputs for their arguments, Dumaguing said the participants were briefed on regional development and autonomy. Among the topics lectured were the Cordillera struggle for self-governance, regional development opportunities and challenges, salient features of the Organic Acts 6766 and 8438, prospects for the Cordillera, and the roadmap towards autonomy.

After the briefing, the students came up with four motions as basis for debate as follows: 1) That regional autonomy is a setback to national development; 2) That regional autonomy would integrate Cordillera culture and governance as a subject in high school curriculum; 3) That an autonomous status of the Cordillera region is the best tool to uplift economy; and 4) That Cordilleran cultural identities are best preserved and developed through regional autonomy.

Dumaguing said the students also crafted the rules and guidelines and came up with shared agreement in the conduct of the debate.

The team debaters will be given minimal cash incentives and certificates. (Susan C. Aro)