MANILA, Philippines — Though he sees nothing questionable about the use of sonic weapon to disperse rallyists during the Asean Summit, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is open to being investigated about it.
“No problem, we are open to investigation. Alangan naman gusto nila pabayaan ko lang ‘yong mga tropa na mangamatay d’yan kapag hahatawin nila, apak-apakan nila [It won’t be right if I would just let the troops die there if they beat them up, or they step on them],” Dela Rosa told reporters on Tuesday.
The PNP chief added that the use of long range acoustic device (LRAD) was needed so policemen would be able to defend themselves from protesters’ attacks.
“(W)e have to defend ourselves accordingly…Hindi man p’wede ‘yong basta mo banggain mo na lang ‘yong mga pulis d’yan na nakaharang, sipain mo, tapunan mo ng kung anu-ano. We have to prepare ourselves, kailangan depensahan namin sarili namin ,” he said.
At lease two left-leaning members of the House of Representatives called for an investigation into the PNP’s use of sonic weapon against the rallyists.
Gabriela party-list representatives Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus said they would soon file a resolution for the House to look into the PNP’s use of LRAD.
“The latest anti-people weapon of the (PNP) must be probed and opposed. They cannot just play with it every time there’s a mobilization to cover up the rage of the people,” 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 manufactured in America for the defense of US President Trump, the most notorious face of sexism and militarism right now,” said De Jesus.
LRAD’s health consequences
Meanwhile the group AGHAM or Advocates of Science and Technology for the People on Tuesday explained that the LRAD “is a sonic weapon which indiscriminately emits a loud sound way above the average human limit for hearing without damage at 85 decibels.”
“Its intense, high-pitched sound is proven to have health consequences, causing potential ear damage or permanent loss of hearing to activists, bystanders and members of the police force alike,” it said.
The model that PNP allegedly used during the rally can be either the LRAD 1000 or the 1950XL; both models can reach an output as high as 149 dB, AGHAM said.
“According to a study, targets 50 meters away from the LRAD 1000 can still be exposed to more than 110 dB and that exposure at this intensity may still cause permanent hearing damage if it lasts for more than a few seconds.The PNP’s indiscriminate use of such device placed all within hearing range of it in serious potential harm,” the group said.
“This brute attack is a manifestation of the increasing fascism of the Duterte administration and its readiness to use dangerous methods to suppress the people calling for their demands,” it added.