Cops will not use ''yantok'' to hit persons who violate social distancing
The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said their police officers will only use ''yantok'' or rantan sticks for measuring social distance between persons and not for hitting violators.
“The instructions, our agreement are that our patrollers or what we called social distance patrollers will be detailed on malls, markets, terminals, especially on MRTs, are required to bring yantok,” General Debold Sinas said in a press briefing at Camp Crame Tuesday.
“This will be used for social distancing to avoid contact because if there is no stick, the police will be forced to tap the people…. We encourage and direct our police to use the stick to pinpoint that someone is not observing social distancing,” he added.
Sinas said they prefer using longer sticks to determine proper social distancing.
“It will not be used to hit people. Also, if someone becomes violent or resistant, instead of shooting them we will just use that (stick) to subdue them,” he added.
For his part, Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, deputy chief for operations, said using sticks to arrest persons is taught in training centers and the police academy.
“This is considered a non-lethal weapon… Once the people violate the law, we can use this (stick) to arrest them,” Binag said.
According to their data, Binag, also the commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said more than 2,600 quarantine violators are related to direct assault.
“They are attacking the persons in authority,” he said.
During his public address last Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte said he might arm again the policemen with rubberized batons but in the meantime, the use of rattan sticks would suffice.
"If I will return the baton, maybe I will return it, rubber, not wood. But in the meantime, the rattan will do, will suffice. We'll look for the money next year. We'll buy the baton and the baton will be used, not the gun," he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS