Domondon: Drone regulation up for consideration

CITING the necessity of providing rules in the use and flight of drones in the City of Baguio City Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. introduced a proposed measure that would mitigate the potential safety risks posed by drones in flight on lives and property.

Dubbed as the “Baguio City Drone Regulation Ordinance”, the proposed legislative measure will establish requirements and limitations on any person or person who would want to operate a drone/s in the City of Baguio.

Under the proposed regulation, “[1] No person shall be allowed to operate a drone within the jurisdiction of the city: (a) unless at least 18 years of age, or be at least 14 years of age and under the supervision of his/her parents or guardians; (b) at an altitude greater than 300 feet; (c) within restricted airspace; (d) over or within the security perimeter of a police or first responder emergency site; (e) over or within an open-air assembly of persons; (f) at night, in cloud or fog.

A person operating a drone must, therefore, ensure that it is operated within a visual line of sight at all times during the flight, [2] No person shall operate more than one drone at a time, [3] No person shall operate a drone at a distance of more than 500 meters from the person’s location, [4] No person shall operate a drone that transports or carries on board a living creature, [5] No person shall operate a drone while under the influence of alcohol or while using any drug that impairs the person’s faculties, [6] No person operating a drone under this Ordinance shall be relieved from complying with the provisions of any other relevant ordinances or laws from any level of the Government, and [7] No person shall operate a drone within the vicinity of or over national government offices”.

In his explanation for the proposal, Councilor Yangot noted that the use of drones targeting the consumer market has gained popularity and offers a huge recreational and commercial potential. Along this line he avers that - taking into consideration the diversified use of drones – there is a need to come up with measures that will further contribute to the safety in the operation and flight of drones in the city, as well as to the sound development of business using such remote controlled aerial machines or devices.

Councilor Yangot then recommended in his proposal that for the City of Baguio authorization to fly such drones will be granted if their operation does not present any risk to public safety or order, and if the rules on data protection and privacy are not violated.

He added that the city should also determine the airspace forbidden in the flight of drones and the method of flight in order to prevent the occurrence of harm or injury caused by the flight of these devices.

In the event of its approval, the proposed regulation provides for sanctions such that a punishment of imprisonment of not less than one week but not more than one month, or a fine of not less than one thousand pesos but not more than five thousand pesos is imposed for any violation.

In addition, the criminal penalties specified in Act No. 3815 will be imposed whenever applicable and if the violator is a juridical entity then the managing officers and other persons responsible for such violation hereof shall be held liable for the penalties provided above.

Finally, the proposed measure does provided for certain exemptions in that the mayor will be authorized to exempt any person from the application of the regulation provided the exemption is in the interest of the public and not adversely affect public safety as well as subject to other requirements further provided for in the proposed regulation.
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