THE Bacolod City Council has approved on second reading an ordinance prohibiting drone operation within a 100-meter radius from jail facilities in the highly urbanized Bacolod City.

Councilor Al Victor Espino, author of the ordinance, said that remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) or drones, by their nature, can be used as a tool for gathering information via recording or photographs to survey the jail facility and compromise its security and safety.

Espino, also the chairperson of the City Council committee on police matters, noted that the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said drones could be used in transporting illegal drugs, deadly weapons, and other contraband, as well in the surveillance of jail facilities and premises.

He said under Philippine Civil Aviation Rule 11 and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) Rules 21-24, no person may operate small RPA in populous areas.

Pursuant to this rule, jails are considered populous and congested areas, Espino also said, adding that the ordinance will not cover law enforcement agencies, emergency management offices and duly authorized by the local government unit in coordination with the jail management.

For the first offense, violators will pay P1,000, P1, 500 for the second offense and P2, 5000 for the third offense or imprisonment for a period of more than three months but not exceeding six months or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court, the councilor said.

Espino said the Philippine National Police and Public Order and Security Team, as well as the responsible officer in the barangay which has territorial jurisdiction over the facilities, together with the BJMP personnel, shall ensure the strict and faithful enforcement or implementation of the ordinance.