MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is considering bringing back batons in police equipment, following a police official's threat to cane people who violate physical distancing protocols during the Christmas season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Nagtaka talaga ako kung bakit ito tinanggal. You know, when a person resists arrest and becomes violent, the first impulse of the police without a baton is to hold his gun. He might not draw it but he holds his gun, ready for action. E kung may baton ito, eh rubberized ang baton noon, e kung mahampas mo lang ang kamay, mahampas mo 'yung katawan, eh masakit yun, maybe you can subdue the person resisting the arrest, or criminal," Duterte said in a public briefing late Monday night.
(I really wondered why it was removed. You know, when a person resists arrest and becomes violent, the first impulse of the police without a baton is to hold his gun. He might not draw it but he holds his gun, ready for action. But if has a baton, it was rubberized in the past, if you hit the hands or body, and it's painful, maybe you can subdue the person resisting the arrest, or criminal.)
"Bakit nawala ito, na dapat first line of defense ng pulis? Para hindi siya malapitan, agawin 'yung baril o makipagsuntukan sa kaniya o makipag-struggle kasi ayaw maaresto. The police can use a not-so-lethal weapon," he said.
(Why was this removed, as it should've been the first line of defense of the police? So they won't be approached, have their gun taken, or get into a fistfight or struggle of those who don't want to be arrested. The police can use a not-so-lethal weapon.)
"Balik ko siguro. Pero 'yung hard rubber, 'wag 'yung kahoy. In the meantime, the rattan will do," he said.
(I may restore it. But I'll get the hard rubber, not the wood. In the meantime, the rattan will do.)
Police Gen. Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference last week that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.
"It can be used to cane the hardheaded," Binag said.
Malacañang later rejected Binag's threat to cane people, pointing out it's against the law.
"Hindi po pupuwedeng gamitin iyan na pang-hit o pampalo dahil hindi naman po iyan pinapayagan sa ating batas at regulasyon ng PNP," said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
(That cannot be used to hit or cane people because that is not allowed in our law and the regulations of PNP.)
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said caning might lead to humiliation and trauma.
“Violence, even in its slightest suggestion, is not the best way to address the pandemic,” said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia.