Davao City to implement drone ordinance once IRR is finalized

Davao City to implement drone ordinance once IRR is finalized
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THE Davao City Public Safety and Security Office (PSSO) is set to implement the Drone Regulation Ordinance and will collaborate closely with the City Legal Office to establish its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

According to the ordinance, all Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), and Remotely Piloted Aerial Units (RPAU), including drones weighing seven kilograms and below, must register with the PSSO. 

Drones weighing over seven kilograms will be regulated and registered under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) before they are allowed to operate within the territorial jurisdiction and airspace of Davao City.

Angel Sumagaysay, head of PSSO, said during the ISpeak Media Forum on Thursday morning, July 11, 2024, at the City Mayor’s Office, that while the IRR is still under review, penalties cited in the ordinance can already be imposed, as advised by the City Legal Office.

“For the meantime, [we are focusing] more on information dissemination sa mga tao [for the people] that we have an existing drone ordinance in the city,” he said.

The PSSO and the City Information Office (CIO) are working together to ensure effective information dissemination. Although the IRR will not be finalized in time for the Kadayawan Festival, Sumagaysay believes the CIO will engage media outlets to help broadcast information about the ordinance to international and local tourists as the festival approaches.

The delay in finalizing the IRR is due to scheduling constraints, particularly with inviting individuals from outside Davao City, such as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the Philippine Air Force, that will help in furnishing the IRR. 

Sumagaysay emphasized that even non-residents flying drones in the city must register their devices and obtain a permit to fly, with registration being free of charge. The regulations are primarily for safety precautions to prevent drones from becoming uncontrollable and potentially causing damage to vital installations.

“Kung pasagdan nato ni, delikado pud siya, mag-binanggaay na sa taas nato, lisod. Dili lang halimbawa na mahulog na siya, dili lang tao, but also vital installations, pag nag-wild na siya – uncontrollable siya, pwede siya mo-bagsak or mo-bangga sa mga vital installation ug maka cause unya ug damage (If we allow this to happen, it could become dangerous and cause commotion in the air. This scenario would be difficult and is not a good example because it could endanger not only people but also vital installations. If it goes rogue, it would be uncontrollable and might fall or crash into vital installations, potentially causing damage),” he said. 

Operating drones in prohibited or restricted airspace, no-fly zones, or other areas prohibited by law or regulation is not allowed unless specifically permitted by the proper government authority. 

Penalties for non-registration, transfer, falsification, or alteration of issued registration include a P3,000 fine for the first offense and confiscation of the drone, and a P5,000 fine for the second offense. Operating in no-fly zones or prohibited airspaces will result in immediate confiscation of the drone and a P5,000 fine. Charles Lj Sido, Silliman University Intern

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