STRIKE HOME|Showcasing disparity; Arnis as a rehab tool

ONE CAN only commiserate with President Duterte in his decision to scrap the joint military exercises between the Philippines and the United States. It is a charade and it is certainly must end.

The Philippine government has not said officially. But there is no denying the obvious: that our boys are mere props every time the Americans unload their gear on the beaches of Zambales in a bid to simulate war scenarios.

And with our boys keeping pace with their American counterparts as they assaulted imaginary enemy positions they could only stare at the weaponry unveiled before their eyes that their government could ill afford.

For such is the disparity in arms and technology that the “joint military exercises” actually has been a misnomer. Our armed forces do not lack of courageous soldiers and capable officers as their performances abroad under the banner of the United Nations would show. But they are generally a Third World army with hand me-down planes, ships and tanks whose worthiness may been long out dated.

Hence, the so-called military exercises merely served to showcase America’s state of the art weaponry with our military personnel acting basically as observers and role players. How pathetic, indeed.

Of course, Duterte’s decision for serving notice that the just-concluded military exercises would be the last stems from something else: China’s apparent displeasure with the war games.

It is probably a difficult decision to make but considering the shabby treatment the Philippine military has been getting from its supposed most-trusted ally, it is a gambit worth considering. Besides, we are after all supposedly a sovereign nation and it is the President’s call what should be done on his level to ensure that this sovereign nation gets the respect it deserved.

Sometime ago at a corner along Intramuros St. near the Pasig when Senator Joseph Estrada has yet to cast his vote for the US bases to leave, the Ilocano writers Arnold Azurin and Abraham Belena got into a debate on why the US was determined at all cost to stay in the Philippines.

One reason given was because of our women. I cannot recall which of the two said it but that accordingly, the Americans have made a comparative study of the places they were likely to relocate to but concluded there is no place like Subic or Clark in terms of the hospitality industry as compared to other places in the seven seas.

“You see,” one of the said in between beers, “our womenfolk in the hospitality industry are on top of the work chain.”

The speaker said one attraction to our women is their ability to speak in English, no matter if crooked at times. “Then of course they are always neat and when dressed properly can hold a candle to beauty pageants contestants themselves.”


How to rehabilitate thousands if not millions of Filipino drug users?

“Believe it or not, Arnis as a martial art is just the answer to rehabilitate and to make better persons out of drug users and ordinary inmates,” said the Canada-based Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) guru Allan‘Sichir’ Inocalla who starred as Michaelangelo in the Ninja Turtle movies.

Inocalla made the prognosis in a recent meeting with Filipino FMA practitioners in Davao City adding that arnis has the power to uplift the mind, the body and spirit.

“It is the Filipino people’s gift to humanity,” he said.

He said that if taught early in the schools, arnis can instill fitness, wellness, patriotism and leadership, “empowering them with the tools to combat corruption.”

The FMA group has been reaching out to President Duterte to prioritize the implementation of Republic Act 9850 which declared arnis as the national sports and Filipino martial arts.

Inocalla bewailed that since the passage of the law, it has not really moved forward in terms of implementation.

He deemed this as ironic considering that arnis has gained international acceptance with several countries adopting it as a required training for their police or military personnel.

Businessman Tek Victoria, coordinator of Modern Arnis Tapi-tapi longs for the day when Arnis is adopted officially by the Department of Education and the TESDA as part of the curriculum.

The other week, the FMA got another boost when grandmaster Rene Tongson of Abanico Tres Puntas Classical Arnis visited Davao and conducted a seminar that updated local practitioners. (JKL)


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