Drone Laws in the Philippines

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of the Philippines

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in the Philippines

The Philippines agency responsible for drone safety, CAAP, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.

Are drones allowed in the Philippines?

According to CAAP, drones are allowed in the Philippines, subject to CAAP regulations. Read on for more details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in the Philippines:

  • To fly a drone commercially or fly a drone weighing more than 7 kilograms (15 pounds), you must obtain a CAAP certificate. For additional information, see the section below. 
  • Fly only during daylight hours and in good weather. 
  • Allow the drone to remain within your visual line of sight. 
  • Avoid flying over densely populated areas, such as schools or markets. 
  • Never fly higher than 400 feet above the ground. 
  • Keep a safe distance of at least 30 meters (98 feet) from people not involved in the drone’s operation. 
  • Avoid flying within a radius of 10 kilometers (6 miles) of airports. 
  • Avoid flying near disasters, such as fires.

Certification Requirements for Flying a Drone in the Philippines

Large drones weighing more than 7 kilograms (15 pounds) and drones intended for commercial use require a CAAP UAV certificate. The authorization is divided into three sections: 

  • Certificate as a UAV Controller / Pilot 
  • Registration of unmanned aerial vehicles 
  • Certificate of UAV Operator 

To earn the UAV Controller / Pilot Certificate, you must complete a training course, pass an exam, and demonstrate proficiency in flight. This certificate is valid for five years. The UAV Operator Certificate is valid for three years and requires a letter of intent and detailed operations specifications. 

Following registration, the required registration marks must be visible on the UAV.

Note for Foreign Operators

Importing UAVs into the Philippines

It is recommended that you obtain a “Carnet” or Merchandise Passport for your UAV equipment before entering the Philippines. This may prevent the need for lengthy customs procedures and may even eliminate the need to pay import taxes. While the Philippines is a non-carnet country, the Philippine Bureau of Customs may accept it as documentation. 

In some instances, the Bureau of Customs will require an “Import Bond” to ensure that the UAV equipment is not resold into the market. The cost is determined by the declared value of the unmanned aerial vehicle being imported.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in the Philippines

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.

You do not need a license or a permit to fly a drone for recreational purposes if it weighs less than 7 kg and you fly keeping within the following rules: 

  • at a maximum altitude of 122 meters above the surface of the earth. 
  • at least 30 meters away from people or large crowds and respect the privacy of individuals. 
  • at least ten kilometers from airports 
  • It is prudent to obtain insurance that covers all risks. 
  • away from areas where its use could jeopardize the work of law enforcement or first responders. 
  • At all times, fly in daylight and within your line of sight. 
  • If your drone weighs more than 7 kg, or if you violate any other provision of the preceding code of conduct, you must follow the commercial use rules outlined below. 

Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in the Philippines

Commercial drone use is prohibited in the Philippines without a permit. 

An operator shall not conduct aerial work unless they possess a valid authorization certificate issued by the Authority. 

Each applicant must apply for the initial issuance of a certificate of authorization at least 90 days before the intended date of operation. 

The Authority may issue a certificate of authorization if it determines that the applicant is: 

  • a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.
  • that the applicant’s principal place of business and registered office, if any, are located in the Republic of the Philippines.
  • that the applicant complies with all applicable regulations and standards governing the holder of a certificate of authorization; and 
  • that the applicant is appropriately and adequately capitalized. 

The Authority may deny an application for a certificate of authorization if it determines that the applicant is not properly or adequately equipped or capable of conducting safe aerial work operations:

  • the applicant previously held a certificate of authorization that was revoked; or 
  • the applicant previously had a certificate of authorization that was revoked. 
  • A person who contributed to the circumstances that resulted in revoking a certificate of authorization acquires substantial ownership or is employed in a position required by this country’s regulation. 

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.


Useful published information on flying drones in the Philippines

Here is a video provided by CAAP regarding the general regulations of drone flights in the Philippines…

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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