Square Off kicks off its latest season with an even wider array of collegiate teams battling it out for the honor of representing their school and the country in the 2009 Asian Universities Debating Championship (AUDC) in Dhaka.
The all-expense paid trip to the AUDC is being sponsored by Sen. Frank Drilon, a well-known advocate of youth empowerment and social justice. Also a prominent lawyer, Sen Drilon threw his support behind the Square Off because "debate espouses the highest ideals of democracy."
Dubbed Frank-ahan: The Drilon Debates, 22 schools from all over the country are participating.
The top contenders in the previous season, like Ateneo de Manila, UP Diliman, De La Salle University, Ateneo De Zamboanga, Silliman University, and Xavier University, are all back.
New challengers include La Salle Bacolod, Ateneo De Naga, UP Iloilo, Mindanao State University-Iligan, and University of San Juan de Recoletos.
In all, 9 participants are from Metro Manila, 3 come from Northern Luzon, while Visayas and Mindanao are sending 5 teams each.
"We took special pains to invite little-known teams from the provinces to give them the kind of national exposure they deserve," says Square Off Moderator and executive producer, Twink Macaraig.
"With such a mix, the audience will be in for more color and quite a few surprises - like last year's unexpected standout performances from Mindanao State University-Marawi, and PMA," she said.
Capitalizing on the diversity of schools represented, Square Off will also feature live shots of viewers in select provinces to capture the excitement of fans cheering on their home teams.
Square Off - Frankahan: The Drilon Debates airs on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) Wednesdays at 8pm, with replays at 1pm Thursday, and 2pm Saturday.