We at AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People strongly condemn the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s use of sonic weapon Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) against participants of the mobilization coinciding with the ASEAN Summit.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.
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.
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.  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 PNP’s use of LRAD is patterned after “US-style” fascism to suppress the people by whatever means. LRAD was first used to disperse a protest in 2009 during the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where victims sustained permanent hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), barotrauma, ear pain, and disorientation when the LRAD was activated without warning.
It is the people’s right to voice out their legitimate demands against the anti-people agenda of the United States, China, Russia and other imperialist countries in the Southeast Asia region through the ASEAN. 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 sovereignty.
In concrete terms, ASEAN is one of the mechanisms that has led to the current state of the country’s import-dependent and export-oriented economy where we become a source of raw materials and cheap labor and a market for surplus products.
At a time when science and technology is being used against us, we will strengthen our collective action and raise our voices against Duterte and Trump’s fascism and militarism. We will continue to struggle for justice and genuine change, and for science that serves that serves the interest of the people.#
- LRAD Corporation. LRAD 100 X Datasheet. https://www.dropbox.com/s/vkh9z33pu6fey3w/LRAD_Datasheet_100X.pdf?dl=0
- LRAD Corporation. LRAD 1950XL Datasheet. https://www.dropbox.com/s/izlir9ffjbfn28f/LRAD_Datasheet_1950XL.pdf?dl=0
- Altmann, J. “Millimetre Waves, Lasers, Acoustics for Non-Lethal Weapons?”, Physics Analyses and Inferences, Germany, 2008, p. 50-52 http://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/26039
- US National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/health/hearing/NIDCD-Noise-Induced-Hearing-Loss.pdf
- Urbina, I. Protesters Are Met by Tear Gas at G-20 Conference. The New York Times, September 25, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/us/25pittsburgh.html