MANILA, Philippines – UNTV pioneered drone journalism in the Philippines in 2013 during the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda.
Viewers were given a picture of the devastation in a different perspective uncommon to traditional news reporting.
Through the years, UNTV has shown the public the beauty of different places in the Philippines; the extent of damages brought about by illegal mining; the massive fires; the raging volcanoes and other important events in the country.
This year, UNTV has set another milestone in Philippine broadcast industry with the use of a Remotely-Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV) drone.
This can be used in exploring the beauty of aquatic bodies and the problems that water creatures are suffering as a result of urbanization.
Such is the case in Manila Bay when UNTV explored its seabed to reveal the extent of the damage in its underwater environment.
During UNTV’s Digital Interactive Broadcast, the station’s drone journalism chief Argie Purisima described how the underwater drone struggled during its exploration in Manila Bay.
“Ang makikita nyo po sa seabed is puro burak. Maraming mga basura. Katunayan nga, pag-ahon ng drone natin, lahat po ng elesi natin, itong tatlong elisi, punong puno ng basura. Puro mga plastic, (What you can see on the seabed is pure mud. A lot of trash. In fact, when the drone emerged, all its blades were tangled with trash, plastic trash,)” Purisima said.
UNTV’s underwater ROV drone can go up to 150 feet underwater.
In Manila Bay, it was able to reach 10-feet deep but the environment was already zero visibility.
“Mayroon diyan kuha akala mo corals, parang corals na mga basura. Then iyong iba, burak talaga (In one shot, it looked like corals, corals made of trash. The rest was mud),” he added.
UNTV drone journalism is the brainchild of the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), Daniel Razon who has contributed a number of innovations in the Philippine broadcast industry.
UNTV is proud to be the only TV station that was given three licenses by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in June 2015:
*Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAS) Controller Certificate of Registration (license for drone pilots)
*Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAS) Certificate of Registration (license for drone units)
*Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAS) Operator Certificate of Registration (company license)
These certificates attest that all drone units of UNTV are safe to use and can be used for commercial purposes like in news broadcasting. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)