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Davao City, Philippines

Proposed ‘Drone Ordinance’ passed on second reading

November 20, 2020 - Friday 5:11 PM by Davao City Information Office

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The Davao City 19th Council has approved on second reading the proposed ordinance regulating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Remotely Piloted Aerial Units (RPAU), or any Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS) or the Drone Regulations Ordinance of Davao City. 

Councilor Ma. Belen Acosta, the Chairperson of the City Council Committee on Peace and Order, said that once passed on its third reading and approved by the Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte all drones will be required to register with the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) for regulation.

“Lahat po ng drones kailangan irehistro, regardless of weight, purpose, and specifications (All drones must be registered, regardless of weight, purpose, and specifications). This is to make sure that the air space of Davao is being used for good purpose and not for criminal or terrorist intent,” she said.

Originally, drones weighing seven kilograms (15 pounds) or more must secure a certification from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) before they can operate.

Ret. P/Col Angel Sumagaysay, the chief of the PSSCC, said that the ordinance is a preventive measure against possible terrorist attacks using drones.

“Drones can be used as weapons by terrorist groups and criminals. To prevent that, we should regulate all the drones operating or flying in the city for the safety of all Dabawenyos,” he said.

Acosta said, “We need to be updated since more high-tech drones are getting smaller and smaller, but with higher camera specifications. We have to be attuned to the times and aware of new technology to protect the peace and order and the general welfare of Dabawenyos.” 

She added that this would be beneficial for the welfare of Dabawenyos since drones are also used for environment scanning and rescue missions.

“Nagagamit din kasi ito sa mga rescue missions, sa mga evaluations ng critical areas. So ang mga military personnel na mayroong drones, hindi nila kailangan mag-register kasi for rescue missions, and peace and order (These can also be used for rescue missions, for evaluation of critical areas. So, the military personnel who are operating drones don’t need to register because their purpose is for rescue missions, and peace and order). They only need to coordinate with PSSCC,” Acosta said.

Before registering drones, owners undergo an orientation to educate them on the restricted zones or “no-fly zones”, the aerodrome that is more or less eight to ten kilometers away from the airport, and other regulations to be implemented. 

Corresponding penalties apply for non-registration, operation in no-fly zones, and other offenses like spying, terrorism, or criminal activities.