THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) will push through with the installation of an extra x-ray scanner at the Sasa Wharf in Davao despite strong opposition from a group claiming the machines are a health hazard.
BOC said there is no reason to delay the project since the necessary health permits from the Deparment of Health (DOH) have been secured early this month.
BOC x-ray inspection chief Atty. Lourdes Mangaoang said the x-ray machines, acquired from China-based firm Nuctech Co Ltd, was certified by the DOH as compliant with the basic standards on radiation protection.
The same manufacturer also sold similar x-ray machines to the US, Australia, United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and South Africa.
“The machines play an important role in the war against terrorism and smuggling, helping these countries create a safer world,” Mangaoang said.
“If there was really an extreme possibility of hazard exposures, these countries would not have acquired the x-ray machines,” Mangaoang added.
Earlier, 54 port workers along with newly installed Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral expressed concern over the machine’s safety aspects.
The group also said the additional machine is not needed since there was already one (fixed x-ray) installed 100 meters from the port. Two other mobile x-rays, each costing $2 million, are also available.
Earlier, Customs commissioner Napoleon Morales ordered the scanning of all containers passing through Sasa Wharf after the BOC seized 16 kilos of cocaine in a reefer van declared as empty.