Francisco ‘Popoy’ Pagayon is reintroducing “Probaton”—a patented truncheon made of rubber–to equip security frontliners after President Rodrigo Duterte asked the police to use batons as the “first line of defense”.
“This is in response to the call of the president. Probaton, which is protected by patent, is ideal for our security frontliners, peace officers and village watchmen,” says Pagayon, who is the president and chief executive of Filipino Inventors Society Producers Cooperative.
FISPC maintains a showroom along EDSA in Quezon City in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology’s oneStore that showcases Filipino products and inventions.
President Duterte said in December that he wanted the police to use baton, made of hard rubber instead of wood, as first line of defense. “When a person resists arrest and becomes violent, the first impulse of the police [officer] without a baton is to hold his gun. He might not draw it, but he holds his gun ready for action. If you have a baton, you hit just the hand or the body and that’s painful. Maybe you can subdue the person resisting arrest or the criminal,” the president was quoted as saying.
Security frontliners are using rattan at the moment, but the president said he would look for the budget to arm them with rubber batons.
Pagayon, an entrepreneur who likes to develop new tools, says he is willing to provide affordable but high-quality “Probaton” which he developed in 1978. After improving the design over the years and getting the patent in 1994, Pagayon reintroduced the truncheon as “Probaton” which has armed thousands of policemen and village watchmen across the country.
Probaton, short for police reconnaissance operation baton, is one of the several inventions that Pagayon is credited for. He says he registered Probaton after being informed that its design could be considered an invention.
“Probaton is my best friend. That’s what has fed my family and built my business over the years,” Pagayon says.
“Probaton has been in use by our law enforcers and village watchmen for many years now. It passed the rigid inspection and review by the Philippine National Police Research and Development as well as the test and evaluation by the Philippine Army Materials Division. It is designed as the first line of defense for our peace officers, given its perfect length, weight, shape, quality of material, handle and grip,” says Pagayon.
“It is meant as a defensive tool, but you can also swing it to shove attackers. It comes with a manual, personal training and demonstration on how to use it properly,” he says.
Pagayon says Probaton is ideal for frontliners who manage large crowd and implement social distancing. “Frontliners can use it to measure distance between persons and can guide them to observe social distancing. This would also calm the crowd who might panic at the sight of Armalite carried by law enforcers in full battle gear,” he says.
“There were incidents in the past that arguments between frontliners and suspicious individuals resulted in violence and even deaths. With Probaton, this could be avoided. Law enforcers could also use it to defend themselves and knock down an attacker without causing serious injuries to the body,” he says.
“It is time to reintroduce Probaton because of the president’s call for a better alternative to firearms as first line of defense. It looks better than rattan. In fact, it is a high-quality defense equipment. In dealing with unruly suspects, you can use this took to knock down the attacker, but this would not break their bones because it is made of rubber,” he says.
Probaton is the best-selling item among the products of Oral Educational Distributor Media Affairs Inc., the company established by Pagayon in 1980. The company sells school equipment and general merchandise goods, which were improved and developed through Pagayon’s “imagineering.”
Pagayon, 75, did not finish high school and did not plan to become an inventor. He says he became one by accident. “When my company started dealing with the government, I developed innovative products for schools such as armchairs, whose desktops can be switched from left to right. I did not know it was an invention. My friends in government told me I can secure patent for that. So I joined and registered,” Pagayon says.
Aside from Probaton, Pagayon is also the inventor of Portasol—a multi-purpose solar thermal post-harvest speed dry tray, which saves space and ensures the high quality of products while drying grains or fish.
Another popular invention of Pagayon is the Ambidex convertible school chair, which can be adjusted for left or right-handed use. He also invented Reverse Applied Retro Reflective Elements on Alphanumerics for vehicle license plates.
Recently, he developed new products such as solar-powered lighting systems with multi-purpose chargers, solar-powered street lamps, rescue boats with solar-powered lighting systems, and electric firecrackers.
His latest project is Green-Grow gardening and reforestation tool kit—a tool box for “plantitos” and “plantitas” engaged in urban gardening.