SONIC DEVICE A ‘NEW ANTI-PEOPLE WEAPON’
Police defend use of sound cannon; militant groups warn against ill-effects on hearing
Not just water cannons, but sound cannons, too.
Police have levelled up in their defense against riots, protests and unruly crowds with the use of a sonic weapon, such as the device used to disperse rallyists during Monday’s protests against the visit of United States President Donald Trump.
Police defended its use of a sonic weapon while militant groups condemned the move, describing it as “a new level of state violence.” National Capital Region Police Office ( NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde said the long range acoustic device (LRAD) that riot police used during Monday’s clash with protesters in Manila is not fatal and causes only discomfort.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, on the other hand, said the sonic weapon can harm one’s hearing while Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas said the weapon causes hearing trauma, permanent hearing loss and lingering headaches.
De Jesus and Brosas said they plan to file a resolution seeking an investigation into the use of such a device, which they described as an anti-people weapon.
On Monday, protesters from different militant groups clashed with riot police as they attempted to march towards the Philippine International Convention Center, where the 31st Association of the Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Leaders Summit is being held.
Riot police used water and sound cannons to stop the protesters, who have started to breach the barricade. At least six policemen and 10 rallyists were hurt, according to the Manila Police District.
On its website, LRAD Corp. described its long range acoustic device as a long-range communication system used to broadcast warning tones and highly intelligible voice messages to potential threats from close range up to three kilometers.
Albayalde said the device does not have any harmful effect.
“Mas masakit po iyung water cannon lalo na ‘pag sobrang lakas ang pressure, para ka na pong sinuntok n’yan (The water cannon is more painful especially if it’s high pressure. It’s like being punched),” he added.
Reyes denied that the protesters had become violent.
He condemned the use of the LRAD and criticized the police for using the weapon without any clear guidelines.
De Jesus and Brosas of Gabriela described the use of LRAD as “a new level of state violence.”
“The latest anti-people weapon of the PNP must be probed and opposed. Hindi pwedeng paglaruan lang nila ito kada may mobilisasyon para pagtakpan ang galit ng mamamayan. Hindi biro ang epekto nito sa pandinig at kalusugan ng mga nasa pagkilos, at maging sa kapulisan mismo,” Rep. Brosas said.
“PNP’s use of the sonic weapon brings the Duterte regime’s violence to a whole new level, and highlights the country’s puppetry, with LRAD made in America,” De Jesus said.