By Chito Chavez
To bolster their fighting chance in fending off criminal elements in their hazardous tasks as village watchmen, the Quezon City government has provided a five-day training course of arnis initially to 81 Barangay Public Safety Officers (BSDO) from the city’s 25 barangays.
In a tie-up with the Rotary Club of New Manila and Arnis Philippines, Inc., Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte launched the program supporting the advocacy of teaching the Filipino martial arts, especially to the tanods (village watchmen) since they are prohibited from bearing firearms.
“I support this program because I believe that Arnis is an effective tool to protect yourself and other people, especially for our barangay tanods,’’ Belmonte said.
In the last two years, Belmonte has acknowledged the group’s track record in initiating their arnis program which is a very commendable advocacy.
“For me, this is a great project because since our tanods cannot carry their own firearms, some perpetrators think that our watchmen cannot harm them. But if we’ll teach them these martial arts, they will still be equipped with skills that make them capable of seizing offenders,” she added.
At the completion ceremony at Amoranto Sports Complex, the graduates were awarded certificates and their own pair of arnis sticks which they can already use during foot patrols especially at night.
“Marami ring nagtatalo sa konseho na ang mga tanod huwag bigyan ng baril kasi alam naman natin (mebers of the council have argued that tanods should not be provided with firearms) you don’t solve violence with violence. This way, we are also teaching our watchmen to provide proper responses during attacks and ways to take down the perpetrators through the use of Arnis so we’re not promoting violence,” said the vice mayor.
She plans to conduct more free training courses on arnis to more public safety officers to ensure peace and order in 142 barangays in the city.