Monday, July 19, 2010

DFA Quashes Attempts to Sabotage Online Appointment System

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has successfully quashed attempts to sabotage the online appointment system, resulting in earlier appointments for non-OFW (overseas Filipino worker) passport applicants.

DFA Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor Ledda disclosed that the earliest appointment for non-OFWs is now down to less than a month.

Non-OFW applicants who were previously given appointments for September have the option to request for an earlier appointment.

"We are now down to less than a month and our goal is to improve it further," he said.

Complementing this is the increase in the passport production capability of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on a daily basis to between 10,000 and 12,000. This is a significant improvement from the 3,000 passports produced daily at the start of the ePassport project in 2009.

"The improvement can be attributed to a number of factors. We have been provided the necessary personnel required in the operation of equipment and we have trained enough personnel over the past months. We have also gotten the additional equipment needed," Assistant Secretary Ledda explained.

He added that the DFA and the BSP are targeting to process and issue 15,000 passports a day once the ePassport project is fully implemented worldwide.

The DFA found that a number of individuals and groups hoping to earn money by victimizing passport applicants have been making multiple appointments online and thus, creating an artificial demand for appointments.

"There have been serious attempts to sabotage the system but we have overcome it," Assistant Secretary Ledda said.

He noted that for the past weeks, non-appearance among those who have set appointments online jumped to 40 percent.

Assistant Secretary Ledda said that OCA, in coordination with its information technology partner Teleserv, has already identified these so-called "online fixers" and a technical solution was used to address the problem.

With the cooperation of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Paranaque Police, the DFA is also cracking down on fixers approaching passport applicants outside the DFA-OCA building at the ASEANA Business Park in Paranaque.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hassle Free Tips for ePassport

The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued the following tips to facilitate applications for passports:

1. Applicants should contact the DFA for the latest passport information. They could visit the DFA website ( or call 834-4000.

2. They should apply for passports way ahead of their scheduled trip. Applicants should check the validity of their passports and update their documents accordingly.

A passport is valid for five years, but airlines and countries require passports with validity of six months prior to the expiry date.

3. Applicants should prepare their requirements before their appointment date. These include the completely filled-out application form, the old passport and photocopies of its pages for renewals, the National Statistics Office-certified birth certificate, and IDs and their photocopies for new applicants.

They do not need to bring ID photos, as their photographs and thumbprints will be taken on the site.

4. Non-OFW and Metro Manila-based applicants should secure an appointment when applying for a passport. They can log on to or call 737-1000, free of charge. Applicants are also advised to come on time for their appointments.

5. Those in the provinces can apply at the nearest Regional Consular Office or check if there is a scheduled Mobile Passport Service (MPS) in their areas. The DFA RCOs are located in 19 cities and municipalities around the country, and MPS are being arranged in Metro Manila and in the provinces on a weekly basis.

6. Prospective Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can apply at the Passport Extension Office located at the ground floor of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) in Ortigas. The facility operates on a first-come-first-served basis and is exclusive for OFWs.

Shortened passport processing and releasing time for emergency cases is also being implemented.

7. The DFA advises applicants against dealing with fixers. They are also urged to report any passport fixing activities to the Passport Director's office at 836-7759.

8. The Philippine ePassport costs P950 for regular processing (20 working days) and P1,200 for expedited processing (10 working days).

9. Applicants may have their passports delivered. This is to avoid the hassle of coming back to the DFA. Passport delivery charges a nominal fee of P120.

10. Take good care of their passports. They should avoid getting it wet and torn. This is to protect the electronic chip and the other security features of the passport.

Source: DFA website

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Need For Appointment & Satellite Office in POEA Reopens

The Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA) has some good news for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). First, OFWs are exempted from the rule of setting an appointment for passport application and renewal. This is applicable for those who urgently need a passport and can present documents that show there are jobs waiting for them in their countries of destination.

A statement from the DFA-OCA said, “Returning OFWs and those that are due for overseas deployment can have their passports processed immediately provided that they present documents that show there are jobs waiting for them in their countries of destination. Similarly, employment agencies with passport applicants are given special slots for immediate processing and expedited issuance of passports.”

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