POSTSCRIPT / June 21, 2022 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Bring a rattan stick when visiting Nuyok

After the 41st violent attack on a Filipino in New York last week, just one avenue away from the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue, our consulate-general there rolled out again an advisory for our kababayan to be extra careful when venturing out there.

The consulate has gone to great lengths to protect or prepare Pinoys who may stray into those lunatics who attack people for no reason except that they look/sound Asian and who therefore must be sent back where they came from.

Rattan sticks are light and durable. They are ideal for practice, sparring and self-defense purposes. Photo: Shuttertock

Consul General Elmer G. Cato has been coordinating with local authorities and the Fil-Am community to promote the safety of Pinoys who must survive in the Nuyok jungle. The consulate has held a self-defense training session and lined up several more.

Two Sundays ago, it met Pinoy caregivers, housekeepers, and babysitters at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center and gave them personal alarms that they could trigger if they are attacked.

The latest Pinoy victim who suffered injuries in the face was an 18-year-old tourist from Cebu. He was assaulted last week while walking with three companions near the corner of 6th Avenue and 46th Street. The attacker, who should have been warned not to mess with Cebuanos, was subdued and turned over to the police.

The other day, we sent Cato – who had been on extremely dangerous missions – our suggestion that the consulate also organize self-defense training with rattan sticks or yantoc poles used in “anis de mano” or “eskrima”.

If the consulate’s budget would allow it, or if some of the Pinoy millionaires who love New York (among them first lady Liza Araneta Marcos?) could donate funds, rattan sticks could be given to Pinoy seniors who would agree to undergo weekend training on how to use them in self-defense.

The rattan sticks or yantoc poles could be ¾-inch thick and 2.0-2.5 feet long. They could have a strap at one end so the user does not easily lose it.

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In the same way that Americans believe they are entitled to possess (or to “bear”) arms as a constitutional right, any senior or a person with a disability (PWD) who needs a cane should be allowed to move about with a walking stick!

Imagine this scenario of New Yorkers noticing that most elderly Pinoys in public places are suddenly toting, or wielding, rattan canes! If seven such seniors happen to be walking together with uniform sticks, is that a combat squad? Great photo op!

But, of course, one has to train and practice how to use the “yantoc” – or, tbh, the “pamalo” – when attacked. Perhaps the Philippine National Police can send their finest to New York to help the consulate in the “arnis” training?

About the historical roots of “arnis de mano”, Wikipedia says Philippine natives had been using sticks, poles, and even some blades in various kinds of martial art known as Paccalicali-t to Ibanags, Didya (later changed to Kabaroan) to Ilokanos, Sitbatan or Kalirongan to Pangasinenses, Sinawali to Capampangans, Calis or Pananandata to Tagalogs, Pagaradman to Ilonggos, and Kaliradman to Cebuanos.

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But why carry a big stick doubling as a walking cane – instead of a loaded pistol – for more lethal defensive power?

Years ago, some balikbayans told us kids back home how easy it was to buy a gun “in the States” and tote it. It’s like purchasing a hammer at the hardware store, they would say. It’s not so, at least not in New York now.

New York is a non-permissive open carry state, meaning the state prohibits the open carrying of loaded firearms. Although one can still possess firearms in a concealed manner with a state carry license, the state prohibits the open carry of loaded guns.

The state prohibits any resident without a NY Pistol License, over the age of 21, from possessing a handgun without a valid license.

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul (Democratic) signed into law on July 1 a bill restricting the concealed carry of firearms in locations such as government buildings and schools after the US Supreme Court struck down the state’s century-old law that restricted carrying a concealed handgun outside one’s home.

The new law lays out a strict licensing process to obtain a concealed-carry permit and a list of locations deemed “sensitive” — including Times Square — where firearm possession will be illegal.

Other areas defined as sensitive include government-owned buildings, schools, health care facilities, places of worship, and public transportation. People who carry a gun in a prohibited location could be charged with a felony.

• ‘Asean 5’ to ease cross-border payment

The five largest economies of Southeast Asia – the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand – are preparing to sign soon an agreement to integrate their mobile payment systems to make cross-border transfers more efficient without using the US dollar.

ASEAN was founded on Aug. 8, 1967, with five members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. It is headquartered in Jakarta. Now it has 10 members.

The central banks of the five founding members are refining a system of cross-border payments to enable their residents to use their mobile banking app to make QR code-based payments for goods and services when visiting any of the other territories.

This will enable their citizens visiting the other participating countries to make transactions in local currency that will then be settled on their own without having to be exchanged via an intermediary currency such as the US dollar.

Bank Indonesia, Bank Negara Malaysia, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Bank of Thailand said they were preparing to sign late this year a general agreement on payment connectivity to establish a framework for the system.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 21, 2022)

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