The right protection for women

At the level of daily life, we learn by experience, how to protect ourselves by learning many strategies.

Perla Santos, the mother of MOTHER, or the Movement to Help End Rape and Other Child Abuses, inimitably took the center stage  and received the support and partnership of arnis aficionado Master Allan Fami, founder of Kalahi and other volunteers.  They offered their services, through workshop trainings conducted in various communities during the outreach of the MOTHER free self defense clinic that started last month.  The sessions were attended by the less fortunate youth and moms in various barangays. This included the Bayan ni Juan (BNJ) community in Calauan, Laguna which was arranged through Bantay Bata staff and BNJ president Leah Bautista,  ABS-CBN’s Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation.

All the trainees enthusiastically carried out the hands-on training and asked interesting questions at the Q&A.  The participants went home home enlightened, confident and empowered  — and very grateful with the unexpected bagful of goodies which the MOTHER group solicited from friends in the community here.

Since February, MOTHER has been sending door-to-door boxes of donated recycled shoes, backpacks, t-shirts, pants, and miscellaneous hand-me-downs that students need at school opening this June.  Other barangays who heard about this community service have requested to be included in their next MOTHER outreach which is now done regularly.

Seventeen years ago in 1999, while working as an OFW in Saudi Arabia, Perla Santos founded the  movement with the mission and vision.  Thus, based on the principle that self-defense is an instinct that needs to be developed, the mission of MOTHER is to empower vulnerable individuals to be able to defend themselves in the face of imminent danger.  Its vision: to make intentionally-inflicted personal crimes will be a thing of the past.

Since then, MOTHER had been getting the support of various martial art experts who banded together to form the collaborative Working Group. The diversified aficionados on karate, taekwondo, aikido and other styles provided voluntary services and offered their advise as well as conducted practical hands-on training.

For starters, “Techniques Manual Volume 1,” was printed and distributed to those who have undergone the self defense clinics through private and government organizations.

In 2006, “Self-Defense Techniques Manual Volume 2” was published through support from the United Nations Women Guild which was collaborated by the Geneva and Manila MOTHER Chapters and spearheaded trainings to poor kids of Metro Manila.

The advocacy

The MOTHER Rape Prevention bill was filed in 2000 by members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The bill mandated that instinctive self-defense awareness and training be included as part of the PE curriculum as well as a workshop for women going abroad.  Through the newly formed MOTHER Expert Working Group, a social media collaboration comprised of several arnis clubs all over the world who have signified interest to support the crusade, the bill will undergo modification and submitted in time for the forthcoming 17th Philippine Congress.

Efforts are being intensified to re-campaign for passage of counterpart priority bills to include the teaching of instinctive self-defense awareness and basic training in the PE curriculum as well as a workshop for women going abroad most especially that Arnis in the PE curriculum,  in support of RA 9850  or the Act Declaring Arnis as the national martial art and sport.

Armed with wealth of experience, honed skills and confidence gained from having worked with high-end, multi-level and diversified ethnic background including the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, World Health Organization in Geneva as well as in the Western Pacific Region, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, in various continents, Perla Santos is committed to pursue her passion.

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E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol.com

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