Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Debold Sinas said “yantok” or rattan sticks would not be used to attack quarantine violators, but only to impose strict social distancing to prevent the possible transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). 

Sinas clarified that police enforcers will be forced to have physical contact with social distancing violators if they will not be using rattan sticks. 

He, however, clarified that the sticks can be used to hit back at “violent” individuals who are resisting arrest.

“Ini-encourage namin at dina-direct ‘yung mga pulis to pinpoint na ‘Ma’am social distancing tayo, ganito…’ para medyo mahaba. Yantok po ang available kasi naubos na ‘yung mga baton natin. Makita mo ‘yung baton, maiksi lang ‘yun. We prefer a longer one which is yantok,” Sinas said.

“Hindi po ‘yun gagamitin sa pamamalo o pagganon-ganon… also kaya naman kami nagkuwan, pag may mga bayolente at nagreresist, instead na barilin kaagad namin, ‘yun na lang pangsubdue namin,” he added.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque warned the national police force against the use of rattan sticks, reminding them that it is in violation of the law and also the regulations of the PNP.

The Commission on Human Rights has countered the use of violence in imposing quarantine protocols as it might traumatize the people being arrested. 

President Rodrigo Duterte said in his late night address to the nation Monday that he wanted the police to return to the use of batons, explaining that they are a good “not-so-lethal weapon” against aggressive criminals. RJ Espartinez