Gov’t set to clip wings of drones

MANILA: The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has teamed up with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to regulate the importation of drones, particularly those in commercial airline passenger luggage.

According to CAAP Deputy Director General for Operations Rodante Joya, owners of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs), specifically those bringing in the drones as part of their plane baggage, need to secure a clearance and pay the corresponding taxes.

UAVs or drones are considered luxury items, costing over P100,000, that need to be declared at the customs.

Joya told the Inquirer that the regulation started late last year when a CAAP memorandum circular, requiring drone owners and operators to register UAVs and secure certifications for them, was enforced.

The internal arrangement with the BOC, he explained, was to ensure that all drones that enter the country are accounted for and are registered.

“Our purpose for the regulation is accountability. If it happens that a drone causes damage or harms people, we would know who to pursue and hold liable,” the CAAP official explained.

He said that a drone intercepted at the airport would be held at customs until the owner gets a CAAP certification, pays the taxes and registers the UAV.

The CAAP certification, according to Joya, is basically an undertaking or a promissory note of the owner that he will not operate the drone until after it is registered under pain of sanctions.

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