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Monday, May 20, 2024

‘Contact tracing effective than yantok beating’

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Mass testing and contact-tracing method are more effective than using rattan (yantok) sticks to prevent the coronavirus disease, according to former Vice President Jejomar Binay.

‘Contact tracing effective than yantok beating’
RATTAN TRAINING. Recruits practice arnis using ‘yantok’ or rattan sticks as part of their self-defense training on Wednesday, as the Philippine National Police assured the public the sticks would not be used to hit quarantine violators but only as social distancing measuring sticks. Norman Cruz

Binay’s declaration coincided with a COVID Task Force official statement saying authorities will use rattan sticks on health protocol violators who resist arrest.

Violators will first be reminded to observe minimum health standards, then will be given a warning, followed by a ticket, and if violation persists will then be arrested, according to Lt. Gen. Cesar Binag, commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield.

Binay made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte thumbed down the use of rattan sticks or “yantok” to enforce social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duterte said he wanted police force to return to using rubber batons to subdue criminals resisting arrest.

“I welcome Malacanang’s statement rejecting the use of yantok sticks against supposed violators of physical distancing. It’s about time we move away from heavy-handed approaches,” said Binay.

Binay said some measures being implemented by the police and local enforcers for the past nine months have caused undue suffering and injuries, even death, mostly in poor communities.

Despite this, COVID-19 cases continue to rise, he added.

Binay cited a September data from the Philippine National Police which showed that 100,486 have been arrested for allegedly violating lockdown regulations imposed since March.

In most instances, cases were not filed against the violators, Binay said, while those cases that have been filed were dismissed by prosecutors.

In Quezon City, a policeman gunned down a former soldier for allegedly violating lockdown restrictions in Barangay Pasong Putik. Elsewhere, curfew violators were reported detained in dog cages, and subjected to inhumane treatment by authorities, he added.

“Some were injured and died as a result of such treatment during lockdown but COVID-19 cases continue to rise,” he said.

Binay said by now, authorities should have recognized the importance of mass testing and contact tracing, which were given priority by countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan. These countries have re-opened their economies, and have yet to report a resurgence of infections.

Gen. Binag told ANC’s Headstart: “We need to overcome resistance of those we need to arrest. In the process, if we need to use then we will in order to overcome the resistance of the offender or unruly to bring him to justice.”

Violators may be hit on their hands or their feet, Binag added.

The Commission on Human Rights earlier said it was unnecessary and a “form of violence” to use such weapon to carry out anti-virus measures.

The CHR was among those who gave training to police officers in using yantok, Binag said.

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