The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has opened 800k passport appointment slots nationwide.
DFA Asec. Henry Bensurto says via ABS-CBN News report in an organizational meeting of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations today, September 8, 2022.
Committee Chairperson Sen. Imee Marcos questions the DFA website where it comes out that the indicated date of available slots was March 2023.
Bensurto refutes saying there are some places that already have slots in September and October.
There are also passport on wheels and courtesy lanes for senior citizens, Persons With Disabilities (PWD), and pregnant women, according to Bensurto.
The agency has requested a budget for temporary offsite passport sites which are up till December 2022 only where there are 500 applications being processed at each site.
As per President Bongbong Marcos Jr., this was already included in the budget list under the proposed New Philippine Passport Act. An act of having an emergency passport was also being pushed in the senate.
“In theory, as a matter of principle, there may be some need for an emergency passport, regarding emergency or special cases. For example, a person whose relative died and will not have time to apply for an ordinary passport but needs to go to a certain place,” Bensurto says via ABS-CBN News report.
“A person who has to be somewhere and passport has lost. In those instances, it takes a 15-day clearing period. If circumstances justify it, we have to have some leeway to have personal travel but with some restrictions. But there are possible abuses that’s why we are willing to work with staff. Cases where issued will have some seafety nets or safeguards to prevent abuse,” he added.
The DFA is also considering having a mobile application for passport applications. Meanwhile, the proposed bill regarding the lifetime validity of passport was vetoed by the DFA and should only limit to 10 years.
As per Bensurto, “No country at moment doing that practice. We did inquiries with other governments on validity no countries thinking along those lines. I wanted to point out the difficulty with lifetime validity.”
“In consideration of the limited durability of the document, and changing appearances of document holder, a validity of 10 years is recommended.”
Source: ABS-CBN News