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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Globe Telecom to Homeowners: It Takes 4 Radio-Safety Permits from DOH for 1 Cell Site


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Just as Globe Telecom has asked for greater cooperation with LGUs and the DPWH, the company also seeks cooperation from homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to facilitate building cell sites to improve internet services. Globe cell sites have been issued radiation-safety certificates by the Department of Health, proof that radio frequency signals coming from such facilities do not pose any adverse health impact, the company said.

“At the minimum, we get four permits from the Department of Health each time we put up a cell site. This ensures our facilities adhere to global health standards. These radiation-safety certificates should allay concerns over alleged health hazard that most HOAs are concerned about. If we really want first-world internet connectivity, we should be able to provide reliable internet services in every home at least within the metropolis,” said Globe General Counsel Atty. Froilan Castelo said.

The radiation-safety certificates issued by DOH are based on guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on maximum human exposures to radio frequency fields, Castelo explained.

“It is quite ironic that homes of big businessowners and entrepreneurs do not have internet connection only because their HOAs refuse to allow telcos in,” added Castelo.

He said that getting the permission of the HOAs is a major hurdle in building a cell site. “Even if we present permits and certificates from the DOH, we still need to undergo a long and tedious process. We have to get a barangay permit, appear in public hearings, win the referendum before we are allowed to build a cell site in any exclusive village,” he said.

Getting the go signal from the HOA is one of the 25 permits that is very difficult to get and severely delays infrastructure builds to more than a year, according to Castelo.

No less that the World Health Organization already issued a position that radio frequency signals coming from cell sites do not pose any adverse health effects as these are classified by WHO as non-ionizing, which means there is no adverse impact to human and animal cells. Other low frequency devices that emit non-ionizing radio signals include transistor radios, microwave ovens and baby monitors.

This is so much different from ionizing radiations known to have adverse health risks such as x-rays, ultraviolet rays and gamma rays that can break the chemical bonds in DNA. Studies conducted by WHO, the world’s most trusted authority on health issues, indicate there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak radiofrequency signals from cell sites or base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects, he explained.

He lamented that despite radiation safety certificates from DOH and assurances from WHO, several villages have lobbied for the removal of cell sites in their areas, citing health risks. Such villages include Sitio Calvary Hills in Barangay Apas, Cebu City, Green Meadows Subdivision in Quezon City; Upper Market Subdivision, Baguio City. The removal of cell sites from some of these areas, however, resulted in degradation of mobile services to the detriment of other customers within the 5-kilometer radius area.

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