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Gabriela solons want probe into use of ‘sonic’ weapon in anti-Trump rally

Representatives of the Gabriela Women's Party (GWP) will file a House resolution next week seeking an investigation into the use of a "sonic" weapon to control anti-Trump protesters in Manila on Monday.

In a statement on Tuesday, GWP Representatives Emmi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas slammed the Philippine National Police (PNP) for using the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to ward off protesters, saying that its deployment constitutes a new level of state violence with an intent to harm the demonstrators.

“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,” Brosas said.

Brosas said reports state that the use of the sonic weapon can have a number of effects on the human body, such as hearing trauma, permanent hearing loss and lingering headaches.

“Magkano ang pinambili ng PNP para rito? At ilan pang LRAD ang nakatabi sa arsenal ng kapulisan? Dapat na ilantad ito sa publiko,” she said.

Meanwhile, De Jesus said the use of the sonic weapon only further shows the desperation of the Duterte administration to control the anger of the masses over his failed economic policies.

“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,” she said.

“It is a desperate attempt to drown the legitimate calls of women and the people for the pullout of US troops and junking of one-sided trade and military agreements. Lalo lamang lalakas ang mga panawagan ng mga mamamayan para sa tunay na pagbabago,” she added.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde, however, said the sonic weapon was only used for "extreme circumstances."

"Actually ginagamit po 'yan 'pag extreme circumstances lang at 'yan po ay nasa discretion ng ground commander kung talagang kinakailangan. Pero limitadong-limitado po ang paggamit niyan at 'di continuous dahil nakakasira ng pandinig," Albayalde told Super Radyo dzBB in an interview on Monday.

"Kahit mga pulis, 'pag tinamaan po niyan... kaya 'di po masyadong ginagamit 'yan. At usually ang ginagamit po natin ay water cannons lang," he added. —KG, GMA News