Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. expressed Monday his opposition to enforcers’ threat of using “yantok” or rattan stick in implementing COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“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,” Locsin said in a tweet captioning a nun holding a stick.
Last week, the Commission on Human Rights also warned law enforcers against the use of yantok, adding using force and actions may lead to inflicting trauma and humiliation.
CHR spokesperson lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia said that while they acknowledge the need for imposing discipline to prevent COVID-19 transmission, it is still important to respect human rights and dignity at all times.
Last Friday, the government announced that law enforcers would be deployed in public areas to enforce health and safety protocols during this coming Christmas holidays.
Using ‘yantok’ to enforce social distancing
However, the CHR said the patrollers threatened to use yantok to hit health protocol violators.
“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,” De Guia said.
Moreover, the CHR said, “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.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could hit 500,000 by the end of 2021, according to the OCTA Research team.
The experts said the total number of cases could reach between 470,000 and 500,000 (with a mean of 485,000 cases) by December 31.
The team also urged the public to avoid crowded and enclosed areas this Christmas season. People should also avoid joining or organizing social gatherings.
The experts asked the government to enforce the 10-person limit for gatherings in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and discourage office parties and other social events.