PH issues 1st drone license; mulls more by yearend
MANILA, Philippines —The Philippines’ aviation regulator on Thursday, July 9, certified the country’s first drone operator: local engineering firm SRDP Consulting Incorporated.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General William Hotchkiss lll said SRDP’s two licensed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are the first units to get licensed by the country’s regulator.
“SRDP is the first one to comply to the many requirements of CAAP. It took them about a year to get licensed. Take note that we are still streamlining our procedure as we are still in the infancy stages; this is why the process took about a year,” Hotchkiss explained.
He added that aside from SRDP, there are other television and media companies that are seeking licenses to operate drones in the country. (READ: PH military to acquire drones)
SRDP consulting president Joel Cruz said: “We are pleased to be the first. In terms of the process, there were delays, but it is understandable because CAAP is still testing the waters.”
Cruz said his company is targeting to get licenses for two more drones by yearend.
The licensed drones, according to Cruz, will be used for ground exploration, research, and disaster prevention and management. Each of its drones cost about P1.2 million ($26,551).
During the signing ceremony, Hotchkiss congratulated Cruz for being the first recipient of a UAV certificate and encouraged others to register to avoid being penalized by CAAP.
CAAP issued a memorandum circular in June last year requiring drone owners or operators to register their equipment with the aviation regulator, and secure a certification to operate.
The memorandum states that “no person may operate a UAV for hire or rewards unless in possession of a UAV Certificate of Authorization that authorizes the person to operate the UAV.”
Under the memorandum circular, operators found violating rules will be fined between P300,000 ($6,637) to P500,000 ($11,063), depending on the gravity of violations.
Efren Rocamora, CAAP Regulation Standard department manager, said that users will have to pay P6,000 ($132.75) for the certification and P1,500 ($33.19) for the registration. Operators must also undergo proper training for about 3 to 10 days before they receive their licenses to operate. — Rappler.com