The Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory on Sept. 3 assuring the public that prior to installation of antennas, an evaluation is done to determine its safety.
This followed the issuance of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 s. 2020 or the Streamlined Guidelines for the Issuance of Permits, Licenses, and Certificates for the Construction of Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure in July.
FDA, quoting the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, said antennas installed in cell sites emit radiofrequency radiation.
It said, however, that the ICNIRP stated that adverse health effect arising from exposure to RFR is only possible at high powered/intensity exposures exceeding limits and safe distances in front of the antennas that are normally inaccessible to the public.
It said these values are calculated through the issuance of certificate of safety evaluation prior to installation of cell site antennas.
In addition, FDA said that it is unlikely that a person could be exposed to RFR levels greater than the limits specified by the Department of Health Administrative Order. 175 s. 2004 or the Radiation Protection Standards for Radiofrequency Radiation in the Frequency Range 3 kHz to 300 GHz.
The World Health Organization, according to FDA, also maintained that there are no adverse effects from typical exposure to radiofrequency radiation produced by cell sites.
Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 s. 2020 or the Streamlined Guidelines for the Issuance of Permits, Licenses, and Certificates for the Construction of Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure aims to streamline requirements and reduce procedural delays in securing the necessary permits, licenses, clearances, certificates, and other requirements in the construction of common towers from over 200 days to a target period of 16 days.
DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said all the efforts to speed up the construction of cell sites is in accordance with the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Section 4 (ii) of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which mandates the DICT to undertake measures in partnership with appropriate Internet and communication service providers to accelerate the deployment of critical ICT infrastructure, particularly additional cell towers, equipment, software and wireless technologies.
“Rest assured that the DICT will continue to coordinate with relevant government agencies and private entities to fast track the deployment of ICT infrastructures in our country to provide better Internet connectivity to the people amid the new normal,” he said.
“We’d also want the public to understand that, while we are expediting the roll-out of ICT infrastructures, the government does not neglect the safety of the public—there are safeguards in place to ensure the safety of such infrastructures,” Honasan said.