June 14, 2024

The Baguio City Council is set to enact an ordinance that aims to regulate drone operations within a 200-meter radius of jail facilities and their perimeter fences.

Introduced by Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr., the proposed ordinance is a response to the increasing use of drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and concerns about security risks associated with their misuse.

Under the proposed measure, individuals who operate drones within the specified distance from jail facilities in the city will face penalties for violations. These penalties escalate for repeat offenses ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 and imprisonment as determined by the court.

The ordinance includes exemptions for law enforcement agencies, emergency management offices, and authorized entities coordinated with the city government and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. These exemptions ensure legitimate and authorized drone operations for public safety and security purposes are not hindered by restrictions imposed by the ordinance.

The implementing offices and entities responsible for enforcing the ordinance are the Philippine National Police, barangay officials with territorial jurisdiction over jail facilities, and BJMP personnel. They will work together to ensure strict compliance with the ordinance and post warning signs around jail facilities to notify the public of the restricted drone operation zones.

Within 30 days of the approval of the ordinance, the PNP, concerned barangays, and BJMP will be tasked to formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations, which will outline procedures for securing permits for authorized drone operations near jail facilities and establish coordination protocols with BJMP personnel to facilitate lawful drone usage within the specified parameters.

The proposed ordinance has been approved on first reading and referred to the committee on public protection and safety, peace, and order for review.

Yangot has also refiled his old proposed ordinance regulating the operation of drones by private persons in the city, regardless of whether they are used for recreational or commercial purposes. It has likewise been approved on first reading by the city council. – Jordan G. Habbiling