Duterte wants cops to use batons again as ‘first line of defense’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants police officers to use batons again as their “first line of defense” to prevent them from drawing their guns when suspects resist arrest.
He has been wondering why the police stopped issuing batons in the first place, he said in his weekly pre-recorded address on Monday.
“You know, when a person resists arrest and he becomes violent, the first impulse of the police [officer] without a baton is to hold his gun. He might not draw it, but he holds his gun ready for action,” Duterte said.
“Now if you have a baton — the batons before were rubberized — and you just hit the hand, or just hit the body, that’s painful. Maybe you can subdue the person resisting arrest or the criminal,” he added.
“Now, if I would bring back batons, I would probably bring back the hard rubber [ones] — not the wooden ones,” he continued. “ In the meantime, the rattan will do. We’ll look for the money next year. I’ll buy you the baton. And [you should] use the baton, not the gun.”
In the same meeting, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año brought up the suggestion that law enforcers use rattan sticks not only for self-defense but also measure physical distancing between people.
The chief of the Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield, Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne, earlier said distancing enforcers could “yantok” to make sure protocols would be followed, and they could even use the stick to hit those who refuse to follow the rules.
But presidential spokesperson Harry Roque thumbed down the use of rattan sticks for defense, saying it can they could only be used to measure social distancing.
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