By GENALYN KABILING
The government intends to purchase rubber batons for the country’s police force next year to enhance the fight against criminality, President Duterte announced Monday night.
Addressing the nation over state television, the President said he wanted to bring back the use of police batons as a “not so lethal weapon” to subdue persons resisting arrest. Duterte admitted that he preferred policemen to use batons instead of guns when confronting an unruly crime suspect.
“Kung ibabalik ko ‘yung baton, ibalik ko siguro pero ‘yung hard rubber. Huwag ‘yung kahoy but in the meantime the rattan will do, will suffice. We will look for the money next year. I’ll buy you the baton,” Duterte said.
The President admitted he was puzzled why the police batons were no longer used in law enforcement operations. Duterte recalled that he saw the “multipurpose use” of batons by policemen when he was young.
“You know when a person resists arrest, and he 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,” he said.
“Kung may baton ito, rubberized man ang baton noon, kung mahampas mo lang kamay o mahampas katawan, ay masakit ‘yun,” he added.
Duterte also noted that the batons are considered the “fist line of defense” of policemen to prevent the crime suspects from punching them or stealing their guns.
“The police can use a not so lethal weapon — yung baton. Rubberized noon. Matigas pero not enough to break bones and also, the practice of using it moderately especially where to strike , what parts of the body of a human being can be well…so that he will stop his aggression or surrender,” he said.
In the meeting with the President, Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año raised the use of one-meter rattan sticks by policemen to ensure people observe physical distancing. He said “yantok patrollers” will be deployed to check compliance with such health protocol.