Fists of Fabros: MMDA men train in martial artsBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sending a message to would-be road bullies, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday began giving martial arts training to some 200 traffic enforcers, including Saturnino Fabros, the man who shot to YouTube fame for stoically taking a few slaps and taunts from a raging motorist last month.
“Lalaban na ako (This time, I will fight back),” Fabros said in an interview after his two-hour session courtesy of mentors from Modern Arnis Mano-Mano Filipino Martial Arts, a Pasay City-based group.
The trainees came in four batches and underwent training on stick fighting or arnis, knife defense, and hand-to-hand combat at the grounds of the MMDA headquarters in Makati City.
MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino maintained that he instituted the training program not to turn the traffic aides into bullies themselves.
“We do not want them to be aggressive or use their skills to abuse anyone. This is only for self-defense,” Tolentino stressed. “At the same time, we want to show the public that we can come to their aid and defend them in critical situations,” he said.
The chief instructor, Tony Nicolas, said the skills being taught were not meant to kill the attacker but to preserve life.
Donning white Karate Gi robes, Fabros and his peers were also taught how to disarm a knife-wielding attacker and parry a punch or a slap.
Their arnis lessons were also in line with Tolentino’s plans to arm them with nightsticks. “Once we have completed their training, they will be issued batons,” the chair said.
The MMDA’s self-defense training program is expected to run for a month to cover some 1,600 traffic enforcers.
The initiative was in reaction to the recurring attacks suffered by the MMDA “blue boys” from motorists like tobacco company executive Robert Blair Carabuena who was caught on video assaulting Fabros last month.