MANILA – Malacañang on Monday rejected the use of “yantok” or rattan sticks to harm violators of physical distancing protocols as more people are expected to flock to shopping centers during the holiday season.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he agreed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s tweet expressing opposition for the use of rattan sticks against physical distancing violators.
“Tingin ko po tama is Secretary Locsin dito, hindi po pupuwedeng gamitin iyan na pang-hit or pamalo dahil hindi naman po iyan pinapayagan sa ating batas at sa regulasyon ng PNP (I think Secretary Locsin is right here, this cannot be used as something to hit quarantine violators because that is not allowed under our laws and regulations of the Philippine National Police),” he said.
While rattan sticks could be used to measure the one-meter (three feet) physical distance requirement, he said these should not be used to harm anyone.
“Pupuwede pa po siguro (It could probably be used) to measure social distancing, to make sure one meter, pero hindi po iyan para pampalo ng mga taumbayan (but it shouldn’t be used to hit our citizens),” he added.
In a tweet on Monday, Locsin shared a meme showing a nun holding a meter stick, with the caption: “This is the only ‘yantok’ we will accept and only from someone in her uniform. Anyone else in any other uniform can go f*ck a duck.”
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday described as “baseless’’ allegations that rattan sticks will be used by law enforcers to harm physical distancing violators.
He insisted that rattan sticks will only be used for measurement and not for hitting anyone.
Año said existing sanctions and penalties for violators like fines and imprisonment remain.
However, he said rattan sticks may also be used as self-defense if criminals attack the law enforcers just like how they use “batuta’’ (cudgel).
The Commission on Human Rights earlier cautioned the government over threats to use rattan sticks against violators, saying the use of force and actions that may lead to humiliation and trauma is unnecessary.
CHR spokesperson lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia said human rights and dignity must be respected at all times and situations including the enforcement of quarantine protocols. (PNA)