UNTV Flies Drones for News and Rescue, A First in the Philippines
While drones are famously used for intelligence operations or aerial assaults, UNTV takes advantage of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to intensify its news and rescue missions.
For the first time in Philippine history, these drones take flight to deliver extensive news coverage and quicker emergency and rescue efforts.
“We are the first to use these [drones] in news reporting in the Philippines,” said BMPI-UNTV CEO and Chairman Daniel Razon, who is also known as Kuya Daniel.
UNTV’s pilot use of the drones was in November 2013, showing its television and web viewers the extent of Typhoon Haiyan’s aftermath in Tacloban, Leyte — from 900 ft. off the ground.
The network’s second successful drone-assisted coverage was in January this year, as millions of Filipinos gathered for the Black Nazarene procession in Quiapo, Manila.
Now, UNTV’s drones fly daily to report traffic along EDSA and other busy parts of the Metro. But in line with his ‘Tulong Muna Bago Balita’ (Rescue First, Report Later) advocacy, Kuya Daniel sees using the drones to also save lives.
“One of the drones we are acquiring now has the capability to carry a lifesaver,” told Kuya Daniel.
The veteran broadcaster added that, “the ultimate goal for these drones is for use in rescue. And that includes our water drones.” Kuya Daniel expressed that UNTV also has underwater drones for seeing ship wreckage status.
Kuya Daniel introduced the concept of news-and-rescue in 2010 with UNTV reporters becoming accredited first-aiders. Since then,taxi drivers have joined the cause when UNTV launched the first ever Rescue Cab program, and provided their training for free.
While UNTV may have reached new heights in Philippine news broadcast and reportage, it continues to stand firm on its ground: “If there are those who use it for evil, we use technology for public service.”
(Written by Rigor Arellano)