House urged to probe cops’ ‘sonic weapon’

The Philippine Star - - METRO - Jess Diaz, Ce­cille Suerte Felipe, Non Alquitran

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. –

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