The ILOILO-GUIMARAS drone zone initiative

Declaring ILOILO-GUIMARAS a drone-friendly zone marks the country’s first of its kind initiative for propelling positive economics. Your help is needed for sustaining operational activities, conducting test flights and studies, reporting and educating communities, local campaigning and legislative/executive lobbying.

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The use of small unmanned aerial vehicles or drones is growing. Operators can be often seen piloting their four-rotor helicopters via remote control from the ground. However, drone-flying is not without restriction. Either for recreational or commercial purposes, specific regulations apply to a particular use.

In the country, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is the lead agency in-charge of regulating our drone airspace. Understandably, there are privacy and safety issues that warrant regulation and knowledgeable operation. Just as a traversing drone could endanger anyone on the ground, the CAAP strictly prohibits flying in populated areas unless prior approval is granted.

Although hobbyists may responsibly decide where to fly safely, the authorities may still find some grounds against unregistered drones or users who might not have the thorough knowledge of certain regulations. Confiscated dronesFor commercial drone operators, a more stringent set of requirements is imposed. Nonetheless, under both circumstances, uncertified users and beginners most especially, may not reach some confidence while flying as they fear they might get spotted and penalized. Even more, the chances of anything like it or something wrong might happen could occur at random.

If people are somewhat restrained to buy and fly drones (because of fear or uncertainty), will the promising positive impact to the local economy this new industry is capable of generating be likewise constrained? I strongly think so.

Aware of the potential but unnecessary setbacks such uncertainty might bring about, the ILOILO-GUIMARAS DroneZone Initiative was conceptualized along with the objective of creating a drone-friendly environment. With pre-approved designated flying zones that will ultimately help diffuse user’s apprehension, the proposed dronezone could enable more enjoyable, easier, safer and more meaningful drone-flying experiences. This initiative further aspires to spur progress, benefiting mostly the people of Iloilo and Guimaras with new revenue sources under a so-called ‘drone economy.’

WHY ILOILO AND GUIMARAS?
Iloilo and Guiramas are neighboring provinces which lie just across the Iloilo Strait (a narrow channel) from each other. There is no existing road bridge connecting the two provinces. Yet, the shortest flight distance between Iloilo City and Guimaras ranges only from three to five kilometers. Inland or cross channel, individually or jointly, Iloilo and Guimaras have the geographical and topographical features that drone hobbyists and test pilots would find advantageous be it for recreational, commercial or industrial research purposes.

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WHY HELP?
For a milestone initiative, its success will mark another first, not just for the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras but for the entire nation. Increased job creation, foreign and local investments, tourism revenues and technological advancement are obtainable. Ilonggos, nationalists and drone manufacturers, let’s accomplish this.

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