BJMP, police support proposed ordinance regulating use of unmanned aerial vehicles, drones
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Councilor Rey Gealon proposed an ordinance regulating the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, within Cebu City.
Gealon said in a public hearing on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, that the ordinance is proposed as a “consequence” of a request from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
He said that BJMP observed per an intelligence report that they have observed some movements inside the jail through drones.
“I talked with the BJMP officials that perhaps, it helps in the proliferation of dangerous drugs within the facility and the BJMP officials would not want that this propagates especially that it would be known in terms of their movement and their schedule on day in and day out,” Gealon said.
Gealon said in his proposal that if aerial vehicles are left unrestricted or unregulated, they can easily be used for illegal or illicit activities like transporting illegal drugs, deadly weapons, contrabands or surveillance on government premises especially those engaged in investigation, law enforcement and jail facilities that pose security risks.
However, upon checking by the secretariat, there have been two previous ordinances proposed related to the proposal of Gealon.
The secretariat and the 15th Sanggunian deliberated on the ordinances of Councilor David Tumulak entitled: “An ordinance regulating the use or operation of drones whether for recreation or business purposes within the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu City.”
Meanwhile, the other one was entitled: “An ordinance prohibiting the sneaking, using, and carrying of mobile phones, drones, or other electronic communication devices inside the Cebu City Jail premises,” by Tumulak as well.
The latest resolution thereof was for a conduct a public hearing on January 6, 2021.
Both ordinances were not approved according to the secretariat. However, the reason was not presented during the regular session on Wednesday.
The invited speaker, Jail Senior Inspector Rommel Balili, chief security and control officer from the Cebu City Jail Dormitory, expressed his gratitude and support for the said proposal to the proponent.
Regulate drones regardless of its use
Meanwhile, Councilor Jerry Guardo asked about the requirements when it comes to the engineering department who would conduct an aerial view of the status during landslides or any calamities.
Gealon said that they cannot really determine what is the business of that drone being flown out into the airspace.
“So might as well regulate all of them regardless of its intention,” he said.
“That way, we err on the side of caution because we would not know whether not it is land surveying or whether or not it is peeping through the premises of BJMP,” he added.
Scheduling or noting the law enforcements’ movements within the premises would “derail” the very purpose of securing the inmates in the BJMP facility, Gealon added.
Gealon confirmed that permits will be required to the department who will conduct aerial surveys during landslides, if the ordinance is approved.
Moreover, Police Major Luzviminda Langbid from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), who was also present during the public hearing, said that the CCPO is in favor of the said ordinance.
Permit to fly
If the ordinance is approved, the special permit may be issued by the Office of the City Mayor granting permission to operate a drone within Cebu City on the given date, time, and place, indicating the name of the drone owner, operator, and other relevant information.
Meanwhile, for recreational or personal purposes, there will be a fee of not less than P100 for an hour of operation, and P30 for every hour thereafter.
For business, commercial, or academic purposes, the fee will be not less than P300 for an hour of operation, and P50 for every hour thereafter.
If approved, the violators or those who fail to comply with the requirements of the ordinance shall be liable to six months imprisonment but not to exceed one year or a fine of P5,000.
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