CAAP grants permit for PH humanitarian drones to take flight

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has granted a permit for the use of drones that could eventually be tapped for medical cargo delivery in the Philippines.

The permit was for the use of first-ever Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) by the SRDP Consulting Inc.

“This BVLOS permits enabled us to utilize drones to deliver essential medicines strengthening the last mile health service delivery in the remote villages of Tawi – Tawi and Agusan Del Sur, Philippines,” said Philippine Flying Labs Managing Director Dr. Heidi Sampang.

Sampang said the permit led to a successful conduct of a humanitarian mission recently after it was able to use drones in delivering medicines, vaccines, water samples, and other essential supplies to far-flung areas in Tawi-Tawi and Agusan del Sur with the help of the Pfizer Foundation and PagerDuty.

“In Tawi – Tawi, we successfully delivered medicines inter island from Sibutu to Sipangkot Island, one of the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” according to Sampang.

The use of drone, according to Sampang, is essential since there is no regular transportation in the areas.

"And, if there was any, this would be too costly for the common resident," said Sampang.

One trip of the drone took only eight minutes to traverse the 6-kilometer distance compared to a boat ride that would have taken at least 30 minutes, or even longer if the water condition was not favorable.

In San Manuel, Agusan Del Sur, the PFL was able to deliver medicines, vaccines and water samples.

The timely extraction of water samples was a breakthrough in the area since it needed to be processed in a limited time.

“With the help of the drone delivery, they were able to get water samples and have it delivered to the nearest laboratory for analysis,” Sampang said.