A PUBLIC hearing is set Monday, April 16, at the Benguet Provincial Capitol to hear suggestions of the stakeholders regarding the use of drones in the province.

Proponent Provincial Board Member Fernando Balaodan said they welcome the comments and recommendations of all drone operators and stakeholders during the public consultation.

Balaodan, chairperson on committee on peace and order, said the regulation of the operation and ownership of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones is needed as pre-cautionary purposes.

“We believe this proposed ordinance would help in the peace and order of Benguet,” the lawmaker said.

Balaodan cite an example that in case accidents of which one can be injured, they can already identify the owner.

The broadcaster turned politician said the use of drones have the capability to watch individuals on a 24-hour basis, following and recording their movements in an unprecedented way which violates the privacy of citizens in the province.

The surveillance drones present a threat to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and equal protection.

Within the proposed law, the owner of the drones must be responsible to pay for any the medical expenses of the victim.

Baloadan added these unmanned aerial vehicles have the capability to continuously monitor text-messaging of individuals and groups and have the capability of carrying a variety of weapons including gauge shot guns, tear gas, rubber bullet guns, bombs and missiles.

Under the proposed ordinance, at least 18 – years – old can operate the said device or at least 14 years old with the supervision of his parents.

Moreover, no person can operate a drone at an altitude greater than 300 feet, within an open-assembly of persons, at night or in fog. The operator must not be under the influence of liquor.

No drones must be operated over or within the security perimeter of a police officer or first responder of emergency site.

“A person operating a drone must ensure that it is operated within optic view or visual line of sight at all times during the flight,” added the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance also prohibits the use of drones within the vicinity of a national, local government offices and public institutions.

Moreover, it prevents a person’s operating drone under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The Office of the Governor, Philippine National Police and the Chief of Police are tasked to implement the provisions of the ordinance.

Penalties imposed for the ordinance include the confiscation of the drone and its accessories.

A person will be imprisoned not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding P5,000.