Scientist group airs concern over PNP 'sonic weapon'

Protesters are hosed with water cannon as they clash with police during a rally to protest the visit to the country of U.S. President Donald Trump as well as the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits which opens Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. Twenty-one leaders from the ASEAN and their Dialogue Partners, which included President Trump, are on a two-day summit which is expected to discuss North Korea, South China Sea and other issues facing the region. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Scientist group airs concern over PNP 'sonic weapon'
Mikas Matsuzawa ( - November 15, 2017 - 9:01am
MANILA, Philippines — A scientist activist group condemned the use of a "sonic weapon" to disperse protesters during a rally coinciding with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
AGHAM on Wednesday said the long-range acoustic device used by the Philippine National Police could either be an LRAD 100X or the 1950XL model, both of which could produce sound as high as 149 decibels.
Physicist Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of AGHAM, said the average human limit for hearing without damage is at 85 decibels.
He said the intense, high-pitched sound emitted by an LRAD could cause potential ear damage or permanent hearing loss to protesters, police and bystanders within hearing range.
"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," Tapang said.
"The PNP’s use of such device placed all within hearing range of it in serious potential harm."
Metro Manila's top cop Oscar Albayalde, however, said the LRAD could only cause "temporary discomfort," adding that they have used it for years during the State of the Nation Address.
The military technology was first used publicly to disperse a protest in 2009 during the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tapang said the victims at the G20 protest suffered permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, barotrauma, ear pain and disorientation.
He said the use of the acoustic device to silence dissent "is a manifestation of the increasing fascism of the Duterte administration."
"It is the people’s right to voice out their demands against the anti-people agenda of the United States, China, Russia and other imperialist countries which has transformed the majority of other countries as a source of raw materials and cheap labor, and a market for their surplus products," he said.
"For 50 years, ASEAN has served as a platform for these nations to keep control of their neocolonies, where the member countries enter into multilateral and bilateral agreements on trade and security at the expense of their sovereignty."
Makabayan bloc lawmakers want the House of Representatives to probe the use of an LRAD by the PNP against protesters.

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