BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance known as the Baguio city Drone Regulation measure.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that it is the main policy of the local government to mitigate the potential safety risk posed by drones to the people and properties.
The ordinance added any person who wishes to operate a drone must adhere to existing requirements and limits wherein no person shall operate more than one drone at a time, no person shall operate a drone at a distance of more than 500 meters from the person’s location, no person shall operate a drone that transports or carries on board a living creature, no person shall operate a drone while under the influence of liquor or alcohol or while using any drug that impairs the persons faculties, no person operating a drone under the local legislative measure shall be relieved from complying with the provisions of any other relevant ordinance or laws from any level of the government, and no person shall operate a drone within the vicinity or over national government offices.
The ordinance will authorize the City Mayor to exempt any person from the application of the provisions of the measure, provided that, the exemption is endowed with public interest and is not likely to adversely affect public safety and that the exemption only applies if the requirements and limits and other conditions are met.
Among the conditions that must be complied include that no person shall operate a drone regardless of weight at a lateral distance of less than 100 feet from vehicles, the public, including spectators, bystanders or any person not associated with the operation of the drone; any person conducting drone operations shall obtain permission from the owners of the property on which the drone intends to launch from or land on; no person shall operate a drone using a first person view device unless a visual observer who is not using a first person view device is providing sense and avoid functions at all times during flight and for non-recreational purposes, including business or academic operations such as aerial photography, filming, surveying, agriculture, observation, advertising research and development, drone operators are required to apply for special permits with the city Permits and Licensing Division for the conduct of the same.
The Baguio city Police Office (BCPO) will conduct an enforcement campaign in areas where reports of drone incidents are at the highest frequency and through the said campaign, the public will be educated on their legal responsibilities, while also taking enforcement action should non-compliance be identified.
Any person who violates the provisions of the ordinance shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one week but not more than one month or a fine of not less than P1,000 but not more than P5,000, or both, upon the discretion of the court.
In addition, the ordinance stipulated that the criminal penalties specified shall be imposed whenever possible.
If the violator is a juridical entity, Yangot explained the managing officers and other persons responsible for any violation shall be liable for the penalties prescribed by the local legislative measure.
By Dexter A. See