/ 27 March 2021

OVER 100 debaters and public speakers from different schools will join the first Bicol-wide public speaking workshop and competition named after Senator Leila de Lima.

The competition will be held on March 27, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. via Zoom.

The participants are from junior high school, senior high school, and college levels.

Dubbed “Leila de Lima Cup,” the public speaking workshop and competition spearheaded by the Universidad de Sta. Isabel Libertas and Debate Society has the theme “Amplifying our Voices through Public Speaking.”

The USI Debate Society named the event after De Lima not only because of her excellent public speaking skills but also because of her courage to speak out and fight against injustice.

“Leila de Lima is a public servant, a Bicolana, a speaker, a legislator, but most importantly, she is a woman who carried the blood of women before her, who carried the weight off oppression from men who were threatened by the power she holds,” the group said on Facebook.

“She is a woman who was silenced for being vocal, for being critical, for standing out. She was defamed and scandalized by men who ruled the walls of power,” it added.

De Lima said that she was humbled by the efforts of the USI Debate Society to spearhead an event named after her.

“I am grateful for the organizers and dedicated individuals behind this inspired Leila de Lima Cup. I know that investing efforts in the talents of youth can make a great difference,” she said.

The group said that the competition aims to change the world “through sharpened words that are strong enough to break glass ceilings, yet passionate enough to draw others in raising their voice too.”

“Public speaking is the sharpest weapon that can pierce through any plains of dialogue and discourse, with our words and ideas as our bullets, aimed to penetrate barriers for a far greater cause,” it added.