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SMCT Debate Society

(Asian Parliamentary Debate Format)


There two opposing teams in an Asian’s format of debate:

1. Government Side - proposes and defends the motion;

2. Opposition Side - refute and negates the motion.

Each side is composed of three (3) members.

The Members of the government side are the following:

1. Prime minister (PM) - opens the debate, defines the motion and advances
2. Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) - refute at first instance the case of the opposition,
reestablish the government's claim, and advances arguments;
3. Government whip(GW)- makes an issue-based rebuttal of the opposition's case and
summarizes the case of the government.

The Members of the Opposition side are the following:

1. Leader of the Opposition (LO) - responds directly to the case of the government by
giving a direct clash, and advances arguments. May challenge the motion if the
definition is challengeable. Rules for challenging the definition:
a. If a definition provided by the Prime Minister is judged to be a truism, squirrel,
time/place set, or a tautology, a definitional challenge may be made
b. ONLY the Leader of Opposition may initiate and issue a definitional challenge
c. If the LO doesn’t challenge, NO ONE else in the debate may do so
d. Both closing teams have the OPTION of choosing which definition to support
(OG’s or OO’s)

Definitional Challenge may only be allowed, if and only if:

1. The definition is TRUISTIC – The debate is defined on an issue where an overwhelming majority
of people accept a certain concept/side as the truth/reality/accepted standard. A good yardstick
for whether a definition is truistic is to ask if the issue is debatable or not. This does not apply,
though, to issues pertaining to the prevailing, but not necessarily correct point of view.

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SMCT Debate Society

Let us say for example: Debating on the acceptability of murder (truistic) versus debating on the
death penalty (not truistic)
Debating on the abuse of women (truistic) vs debating on requiring veils for women in Islamic
countries (not truistic).

2. The definition is TIME-SET OR PLACE-SET – The debate is defined not in the present (but in the
past or future), or is defined in a place/context where there is too little information for a fair
debate to occur. The former is easy to identify. The latter is subjective to the context of the
tournament. International tournaments will have less leeway for limitations in the context of the
debate, but will allow for specific examples instead, to illustrate the applicability of arguments.

For example: Debating whether or not Hiroshima should have been bombed (time set) versus
debating whether or not nuclear bombs should be used again (set in the present).

Debating on the release of Erap (place set, if used in World Universities Debate Championship)
versus debating on the release of all Guantanamo Bay prisoners (set on a more widely known

3. The definition is a SQUIRREL – The debate is defined out of the spirit of the motion, i.e. the
issue/side defined was not the intended one. This is an intentionally broad construction of the
concept of a squirrel, because the interpretation of the motion, depending on its semantics and
culturally imbibed meanings, could also be very different among debaters. However, some
squirrels may not be an honest reinterpretation of the motion, and may even be intentional.
Many squirreled definitions ARE debatable. It is thus up to the Negative side on the receiving
end of the definition to decide whether the definition is disadvantageous to them (and therefore
spurring the challenge), or if it is workable and even better for them to go with it.

For example: The Motion is: THW condone vigilante killings.

Def 1: Policy to punish vigilantes (condone means to tolerate, definition is not in the spirit of the motion)
Def 2: Allow them to continue but punish them if caught (still not in the spirit of the motion).

2. Deputy Leader of the Opposition (DPL) - refutes the case of the DPM, reestablishes
the case of the opposition, and advances an argument;
3. Opposition Whip (OW)- makes an issues-based rebuttal of the government's and
summarizes the case of the opposition.

Time of Speeches:

Each speaker is allocated SEVEN (7) minutes to deliver their constructive speeches. One
speaker from each side (for the Government: PM/DPM, for Opposition: LO/DLO) is given
four minutes to deliver a reply speech. The speakers will be speaking in the following

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SMCT Debate Society

1. Prime Minister
2. Leader of the opposition
3. Deputy Prime Minister
4. Deputy Leader of the Opposition
5. Government Whip
6. Opposition whip
7. Opposition Reply
8. Government Reply

During the constructive speeches, Points of Information (POI’s) may be raised by the
opposing side after the FIRST (1st) minute up to the SIXTH (6th) minute. POI may be refused
or accepted by the speaker. During reply speeches, no POI may be raised.
minutes 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th

POI not allowed POIs allowed POI not allowed


No POIs are allowed in a reply speech.

The speaker has full authority to accept or reject a POI.

1. In order to offer a POI, a person must stand up, hold out his/her hand and say “On that
point, Sir/Ma’am” or “On that point of information”. POI should be offered politely, not
used to hackle the speaker. When offered a POI, the speaker having the floor has full
authority to either reject or accept the POI. If a person is rejected a POI, he/she should sit
down again. A leeway of 10 seconds should be observed after a POI is given or rejected
before the next POI is offered.

POI should be brief and expressed as a question so that the speaker is required to provide
an answer. Once accepted, the person offering POI has at most 15 seconds to deliver the
POI. The speaker then must answer or respond to that POI right after it is given and not
wait until later in his/her speech. It is advisable that the speaker does not answer a POI
more than 30 seconds as it would make him/her lose track of his/her speech.

A time keeper shall signal the time. There will be one knock at the end of the 1 st and
6th minutes, to signal the starting and ending times for POI. And two knocks at the
8th minute to signal that delivery time for the speech has ended. Any debater
speaking before 6 minutes shall be considered under-time and his/her points could

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SMCT Debate Society

be reduced. Any debater speaking after 7 minutes 30 seconds shall be considered
overtime and his/her points could be reduced as well.

Reply Speech:

Reply speech is a comparative analysis of the strength and weaknesses of the case of both
sides. The aim of the speech is to give a bias judgment as to why should the people support
the team's claim. The speech is first delivered by the opposition side and followed by the
government side who will close the debate.

For reply speeches, there will be one knock at the 3rd minute, to signal that delivery time is
almost over, and two knocks at the 4th minute.

Criteria: Matter, Manner, Method:

Asian Parliamentary Debate is assessed by an Adjudicator Panel composed of an odd

number according to the following criteria:

1. Matter (40%) - substance of the debate, the arguments and evidence presented, and
the logical reasoning and presentation of said arguments.
2. Manner (40%) - the style of delivery, the persuasion skills, and the conduct of the
3. Method (20%) - the response to the dynamics of the debate, and the observance of
the rules of debate.

Miscellaneous Provisions:

1. Speakers must observe parliamentary language i.e. bad language is not permitted.
2. The use of Props is not permitted in a debate, even bringing printed materials during the
delivery of the constructive speech unless the opposing side so requires.
3. No amendment to the motion is permitted. You must debate the motion as presented and
interpret it as best you can.
4. Interjections may be made that do not prevent the comprehension of the speaker whose
was given the floor to speak. This includes interjections made to offer a point of
5. The only electronic devices that may be accessed during a round are electronic dictionaries
and stopwatches. Cellphone use should be discretionary.
6. Members of a particular side may not consult any other individual outside of their team
during the round.

National Highway, Tagum City

SMCT Debate Society

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