THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) has assured the public particularly those living near the Port of Davao that the x-ray empty-container inspection to be installed at the Sasa Wharf passed the basic standard on radiation protection.

“The health department should not have issued the license to operate if there was exposure to x-ray emissions,” said Lawyer Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang, head of the Customs X-ray Inspection Project.

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Earlier, a group of people sent a letter to Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral asking the department to stop the installation of the mobile x-ray unit, which will be put up at the passenger pathway of Sasa Wharf.

They claimed that the installation of the mobile x-ray inside the wharf is not necessary as there is already an existing fixed x-ray machine at the Acquarius Container Yard located just across Sasa Wharf and less than 100 meters away from the proposed site inside the wharf.

But Mangaoang explained that the Health department’s Bureau of Health Devices and Technology issued the license to operate the machine on January 11, 2010, which stated the “anti-crime mobile linear accelerato” machine has complied with the “basic standard on radiation protection.”

She added, “The machines play an important role in the war against terrorism and smuggling, helping these countries to create a safer world. If there was really an extreme possibility of hazard exposures, these named countries would not have acquired the x-ray machines.”

Likewise, the Customs official said that most of their x-ray personnel have been conducting x-ray scanning for the last 10 years or more and none of them has ever suffered sickness from the x-ray emissions.

Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales recently ordered his people to implement the mandatory x-ray inspection on all empty container vans that pass through the Sasa Wharf.

The x-ray machines can detect drugs, bombs and other explosives, weapons of mass destruction and other dangerous chemicals.

“It is necessary for the bureau to have these x-ray machines to speed up examination, as well as detect the presence of firearms, drugs or weapons of mass destruction,” Mangaoang said. (FP/Sunnex)