Rama vetoes Drone Ordinance, councilor says measure already ‘killed’
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The regulation of drones in Cebu City will no longer be pushed after Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama vetoed the ordinance authored by Councilor Rey Gealon.
In his letter addressed to the council, Rama acknowledged the council members on the initiative of coming up with the ordinance, especially that it involved technology that had a lot of applications.
A copy of his letter was included in the city council’s regular session agenda on Wednesday, November 8.
Rama explains why he vetoed ordinance
Rama said that he could not approve the ordinance because as he cited that among the requisites of a valid ordinance would be that “it does not contravene any statute.”
He said that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) was mandated under Republic Act 9497 to provide comprehensive policy guidance for the promotion and development of the Philippine aviation industry.
CAAP, weight of drone
Rama further cited that under the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR), the CAAP would promulgate the regulations to govern drones.
Among the concerns raised by Rama was the weight of the drone allowed by CAAP.
The mayor said that use of drones weighing less than 7 kilograms would be allowed by the CAAP even without a CAAP certificate, but Gealon’s ordinance prohibited it.
Ordinance contradicts CAAP
“According to the ordinance, CAAP is the national government agency responsible for civil aviation, but our ordinance runs contrary to the regulations issued by CAAP,” Rama said.
The Cebu City mayor also said that if he would allow the prohibition of operating a drone within the jurisdiction of Cebu City, it would mean that public schools and government offices could not use drones in their premises.
“Just imagine the disappointment of students and members of the faculty who are deprived of aerial shots during intramurals and other special events. We will be stunting the creative growth of photography and film students if they will not be allowed to utilize drones in government facilities,” Rama said.
The mayor also expressed his concern on the frustration of couples who could not have drone shots in their pre-nuptial shots.
He said that it would also deprive the city’s public information office (PIO) of quality footage and memorable shots during the city’s flag ceremonies and other events.
Gealon respects Rama’s decision
In an interview with Gealon on Sunday, he told CDN Digital that he respected Rama’s decision to veto “the unanimously approved ordinance.”
“As it stands now, the ordinance is already killed as the Sangguniang Panlungsod in the last session merely noted the veto and did not override it by 2/3 votes,” Gealon said.
Since his ordinance would no longer be pushed, he advised the uniformed personnel who lobbied for his ordinance to seek audience with the Office of the Mayor in order to address their security concerns, especially in jail facilities, as well as police and military camps, among other high-security areas.
To recall, the council approved the Drone Ordinance (City Ordinance No. 2713) during the council’s regular session on October 4.
The ordinance would supposedly regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, and remotely piloted aircraft or drones within Cebu City.
Last August 23, a public hearing was held during the council’s regular session where representatives from Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) supported the then-proposed ordinance.
The ordinance was formulated after the BJMP told him that they 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 propagated especially that it would be known in terms of their movement and their schedule on day in and day out,” Gealon said last August 23.
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