Demonstration Flight of Drones for
Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape successfully held


demo flight mt mantalingahanAs part of the continuing commitment of Conservation International (CI) to support Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL), they have purchased 2 units of drones for MMPL which shall be donated to the PAMB. A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which provides various applications in the environmental realm particularly on the following activities: aerial mapping, environmental monitoring and management, surveillance pertaining to illegal activities, disaster mitigation, protection and security. The information that can be obtained through the use of drones can be turned into useful, relevant and understandable data for the PAMB and other decision makers. The use of drones will be a helpful solution towards improving efficiency in monitoring and enforcement in MMPL. The use of technology will augment the limitations of the less than 10 forest rangers in patrolling within the 120,000 hectare protected area by foot. Ms. Jeanne Tabangay, Palawan Program Manager of CI-Philippines is in close coordination with PENRO Juan C. Dela Cruz on this initiative for MMPL.

A demonstration flight of the drones for MMPL was undertaken on March 26, 2015 at Sitio Cabangaan, Bgy. Samariñana, Brooke's Point, Palawan – within a few meters from the boundary of MMPL. The activity started with a ritual led by the members of the Organization of Indigenous Peoples for Action in Palawan (OIPAP) from barangays Aribungos & Ipilan. The ritual is a traditional way of expressing respect to and requesting permission from the unseen managers of the forest, as explained by Panglima Beto Calman. The singing of National Anthem was led by a personnel from the 12th Marine Battalion. CENRO Florencio C. Diaz of CENRO Brooke's Point gave the Welcome Remarks. Messages were also requested from Hon. Edgar Inso of Bgy. Aribungos, Lt. Col. Rodel Martires of AFP 12th Marine Battalion and Hon. Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano of Brooke's Point. Mayor Feliciano underscored the need to work together and complement resources in order to abate forest destruction in MMPL. After the messages, Mr. Nico Lasaca of Sky Eye Inc. discussed the Basics of Drones. After which, PASu Pablo Cruz of MMPL gave a message of thanks.

The demonstration flight followed which was led by Sky Eye Inc. pilots, Mr. Tim Sabino and Mr. Nico Lasaca. After the program and demo flight, a boodle fight lunch was prepared for everyone who joined and witnessed the activity.

The activity was successfully undertaken by the PAMB with the presence and support of CI, DENR (PENRO, CENRO Brooke's Point and MMPL Protected Area Office), LGU of Brooke's Point, AFP’s 12th Marine Battalion, LGU of Bgy. Aribungos, LGU of Bgy. Samariñana and the Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines Indigenous Peoples Mission.

Prior to the delivery of the drones, 3 personnel from DENR, PASu Pablo Cruz, For. Vitaliano Maranan and For. Franklin Aquino were sponsored by CI to a 2-month training on drone operation in 2014 as part of the drone procurement package with SkyEye, Inc. With local operators trained and eventually licensed, the efficient use of drones in MMPL is ensured.

This makes MMPL the first protected area with UAVs in the MIMAROPA region. (Vivian O. Soriano)