Radiologist cites ill-effects of cellsites, broadcast towers PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 16:31

The third and final public consultation on the proposed construction of  the ABC 5 Broadcast Tower within the premises of PLDT compound on  Mayor Jaldon Street, was held at the Barangay Hall of Zone 2 in Sucabon on Thursday last week.
Once again, the concerned residents headed by Mr. Guillermo Profeta were present to air their opposition to the said construction. 
The public consultation was conducted by the Office of the City Planning and Development Coordinator (OCPDC) in coordination with the Office of the Barangay Captain Nonito Arañas of  Zone 2,
Ardent Sudario, a radiologist expert from the Department of Health based at the Zamboanga City Medical Center, who was invited to give his comment during the consultation,  said that cell sites and broadcast towers do emit radio frequency radiation. One confirmed effect of radiation is the increase in thermal temperature of the human body. The human body when exposed to electromagnetic radiation absorbs it because the human body contains 70% liquid. The effects are not observed in the initial years of exposure as the body has certain defense mechanism.    However, Sudario said, constant and prolonged expossure to radiation will take a toll on the human body’s ability to respond and to regenerate itself. And this is why prolonged or chronic exposures may be quite harmful to the human body, even at very low intensities.
Radiation from such towers has been associated with greater increase in brain tumor, cancer and damage in the human DNA structure among others, it was learned.

Sudario further stated that before the construction of the said tower should have started, the proper procedure should have been followed by the contractor Megalux Construction and Development Corporation, like getting the consent and approval of the immediate neighbors within the 50 meters radius of the tower, which they failed to do. According to him, the 50 meters radius is based on the guidelines set by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

Sudario further explained that before these towers be given permit to operate they must submit a Radiation Frequency Mapping to determine that the level of radiation emitted is within the limit set by law. However, as far as he can recall, he is not aware of any operator of this towers to have complied with this requirement. In other words, cell sites and broadcast towers were given permit to operate by the local government agencies concerned even without said compliance.   

The Office of the City Planning and Development Coordinator was surprise upon learning of such a requirement.

It has already been a practice in the industry that construction of these towers are done even without first getting the necessary permits and having public consultation. And so in many instances the residents will wake up to the sight of these towers already erected and therefore too late for them to make any opposition.

Concerned residents are opposing to the construction of an additional tower within the PLDT compound primarily because there are already two existing towers (PLDT and SMART) within the compound of PLDT and a Globe tower across the street behind PNB along Buena Vista Street plus the proposed ABC 5 tower will make a total of four towers in the vicinity.  The opposed residents stated that whatever economic benefits that may be derived from the construction of such tower should not offset the overriding demand for the protection of life and promotion of good health of the people around the vicinity. And for rich conglomerate company like PLDT/SMART/ABC5, corporate social responsibility should be part of their company credo.

Not coming to any settlement during the public consultation regarding the issue, the matter will now be elevated to the City Board to decide on whether the said construction will be allowed or not.