Militant House bloc seeks probe on police use of sonic device in protests

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A MILITANT bloc at the House of Representatives has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the police use of a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) at a protest during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit this November.

In its resolution, the Makabayan said the PNP used the LRAD as a “crowd control tool” on November 13, 2017 to prevent the protesters from marching towards the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the summit was being held.

“The use of an LRAD or any sonic devices to prevent protesters from voicing out their demands to the government is a manifestation of the increasing fascism of the government and inhibits the people’s freedom of expression,” the resolution read, citing Article 3, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, which tackles freedom of speech and expression.

Makabayan also said that the PNP did not disclose how much an LRAD cost and the total number of LRAD units that it currently has.


Makabayan said that National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said that the PNP had used the LRAD during the State of the Nation Addresses  (SONA) of former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino 3rd.

The resolution also cited a statement of the LRAD Corporation, which said that the device could be turned up to 149 decibels, (dB), more than the allowable limit of 80 db set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“If the LRAD is turned way beyond a normal person’s pain threshold, it can result to hearing loss and inability to move out of the path of the audio,” the resolution read.

The Gabriela Party-list likened the LRAD to a “fascist” noise that it has been hearing on the Presidential podium over the past few days directed against government critics and supposed legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas added that the use of LRAD across the globe was also being heavily challenged as a violation of the right to free speech. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA

 

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