Malacañang on Monday objected to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) directive to whip quarantine violators with “yantok” or rattan sticks during the holiday season.
“Hindi po pupuwedeng gamitin iyan na pang-hit or pamalo dahil hindi naman po iyan pinapayagan sa ating batas at sa regulasyon ng PNP,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.
The idea was floated by PNP chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas.
“Mayroon pa kaming tinawag na social distancing patrol na ito iyong ipinag-utos ng ating Chief PNP, si General Sinas may hawak na yantok iyan, isang metro iyan pangsaway, tapos panukat, pamalo na rin doon sa matitigas ang ulo,” Joint Task Force Covid-19 Shield chief Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag said in a Laging Handa briefing on Dec. 4.
The directive was denounced by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) over the weekend.
“Violence, even in its slightest suggestion, is not the best way to address the pandemic. Rather, the government should continue to employ information dissemination to make the people understand the hazards of going out in the midst of a pandemic, as well as implement programs guided by the sound advice of science and health professionals,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement.
“The pandemic is not a peace and order issue, but a public health concern. The public should also be equally reminded to follow these health protocols strictly,” she added.
Roque said yantok should only be used for measurement.
“Pupuwede pa po siguro to measure social distancing, to make sure one meter, pero hindi po iyan para pampalo ng mga taumbayan,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro