QUEZON CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) celebrated Wednesday the International Women’s Month with a new twist – the promotion of self-defense among women to protect themselves against lawless elements with criminal intent – at the DAR gymnasium in Quezon City.
Lawyer Althea Oliveros of the Public Assistance and Media Relations Service (PAMRS) said spicing up the annual event with basic self-defense lessons for the most vulnerable lot – the women – is very timely at a time when lawless elements are lurking at every corner waiting for innocent victims they could prey on.
PAMRS Director Leomides R. Villareal lauded Army Majors Lawrence R. San Juan and Brelyn M. Bitoy, Corporals Jumar F. Laurea and R-Jay C. Cacho and PFC Ronnie T. Ronquillo for taking time out from their busy schedules to give hands-on martial arts lessons to about 50 interested DAR employees, most of them were women.“I commend our soldiers for taking to heart the well-being of our people, especially of our women employees,” Villareal said.
Villareal also took note of the enthusiasm shown by the women in learning the ropes of self-defense, “an indication that they are well aware of the danger lurking everywhere, be it at home, workplaces and on the side streets.”
The self-defense lesson is just one of the many activities lined up for the annual event. Others are Agri Trade Fair; Medical Mission; Safety and Security: How not to be a victim of human trafficking and other forms of violence; People’s role during conflicts and emergency situations; and Prevention and management of cancer and other dreaded diseases.
Maj. San Juan stressed that self-defense is not all about punching, kicking and outmaneuvering an attacker. San Juan is an expert in Israeli martial arts called “Krav Maga,” a form of self-defense that focuses on defensive and attacking moves aimed at providing supposed victim the opportunity to free himself/herself from his/her attacker(s).
San Juan said there are four elements in self-defense: situational awareness, prevention, avoidance, and de-escalation.
He said situational awareness is knowing your surroundings and determining the supposed attacker by taking into account his/her unusual behaviors or gestures, like staring with criminal intent.
Prevention, he said, is quickly making an effort to stall the supposed attacker(s) by telling him/her/they to stop following you right away, while avoidance is distancing yourself from the supposed attacker(s) once you sense they have the evil design against you.
San Juan said de-escalation is simply offering your things to the supposed attacker(s) while keeping yourself alert and ready to strike with hard blows once he/she/they attack you to give you that precious little time and space to run away.
Maj. Bitoy, on the other hand, emphasized the need to report immediately to the proper authorities, such as barangay officials, the police and even to the military the presence of any suspicious person(s) in the community.
“The police and the military can only do so much in combating criminal elements and terrorists. We need the direct participation and involvement of the members of the community,” said Bitoy, adding that “the people are integral part in the maintenance of peace and order, as well as, of our national security.”
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