House urged to probe cops’ ‘sonic weapon’
The use of water cannons is apparently bearable for militant lawmaker-protesters and their supporters, but not a “sonic weapon.”
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said yesterday they would ask the House of Representatives to look into the use by the police of a long range acoustic device (LRAD) in dispersing protesters on Monday.
“Based on a study, more than one second of exposure to a 121-decibel noise could cause ringing in the ears, headache and even vertigo. But the LRAD is reportedly able to generate 137 to 140 decibels and it was used for several minutes during the rally,” he said.
“What is worse though is that they did not even consider the damage it would also do to policemen, bystanders and patients at the nearby the Philippine General Hospital (PGH),” he said.
He added that the sonic weapon is a “fascist device.”
Bayan Muna and other militant groups protested against the visit of US President Donald Trump.
Party-list group Gabriela said LRAD “can have varied effects on the human body, including hearing trauma, permanent hearing loss and lingering headaches.”
It said as far as it could tell, Monday was the first time the police used such device on protesters.
The group said it would inquire how much it cost and how many such weapons the police procured.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa welcomed the investigation, saying the LRAD has been used by the PNP in big rallies since the term of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Should I allow our troops to just be beaten by rallyists? We have to defend ourselves accordingly,” he said.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde said LRAD causes only temporary discomfort and is not lethal.
He said when he took over the NCRPO in July last year, the LRAD was among the equipment in its armory.
He said the device is also used by China to keep Filipino fishermen from fishing in the South China Sea. –