“Confront peace” – essence of Nocum’s speech in London’s international speech contest PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 May 2014 00:00

Philippine representative to the 33rd International Public Speaking Competition, Arizza Nocum, may not have won in this prestigious contest last May 17, 2014 at London, UK. Jae Hyun Park of South did out of the 63 finalist from around the world.  Nevertheless, Filipinos should be proud of Arizza (whose parents are from Zamboanga City) as she painted out the truth about Mindanao’s actual and real peace situation.

Arizza did a “persuasive type” of speech to call on people of the world to confront the problem of bigotry, intolerance and strife among dominant religions of the world which through the years killed and displaced more people than any natural or man-made calamities or world sickness ever did. This is very true in Mindanao, more and more people are becoming victims of unresolved civil and military conflicts.

I believed Arizza spoke with strong convictions because she has been exposed to this truth deeper being the administrator of Krislam (Kristiyano Islam) Peace Library. The primary advocacy of Krislam is to overcome conflicts with education thru scholarships, educational books and materials, free access to computers, and tutoring kids of Mindanao among others. The movement is now even reaching out to different poor sectors in Metro Manila.

Her dad Armand Nocum shared a message from Arizza that one of the judges – an executive of the HSBC executive in London – chose her “as No. 1 speaker in the eliminations” because her speech “was fit more for a world audience than just a competition.” Others chose to dwell on less controversial “informative” issues. Apparently, the  topic of Arizza was too dead serious for most of the judges – most of whom are debate coaches – who preferred “informative” and argumentative speeches fit more for classrooms than international speaking competitions.

Arizza based her speech on the context of Mindanao where the problem of rebellion and Islamic terrorism has kept people poor as many of its resources have been wasted through battles and wars through decades.

The 2013 Zamboanga siege is one example I can cite. The misled Misuari-led men and women were made to believed that it was the solution to achieve Mindanao peace. If they were only educated and “not used,” perhaps they could have not been easily persuaded to join in the rebellion and thought of a better approach.

Armand told Arizza that it was not her fault that the judges would rather dwell on informative and intellectual issues with no real significance or meaning to the problems in the world, rather than using a very important world speech contest to train young leaders to confront and tackle world problems head-on through speeches.True.

Beyond speeches, we should exult our youth to stand for what is righteous and not be corrupted by greediness and selfishness exemplified by present inept government officials who only think of enriching themselves.

(Arizza is a 3rd year industrial engineering student at UP Diliman. She never got intense academic training in public speaking and debate when she was in high school or as a present UP student.  She developed her confidence in public speaker as the spokesperson of Krislam to get support from individuals, public and private organizations. It was based on these exposures that she was selected to represent our country.

Asked about the best speech she heard, Arizza revealed that she was touched by a little Muslim girl who spoke about her dream to raise herself and her family from poverty and conflict. A vision she caught that has inspired her to use her youth and talents to help build a peaceful world.)


By Dante Corteza

Proverbs 1:8-9 “Hear, my children, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.”